“Acceptable Worship, with Fear and Reverence”— An Appreciation of Peter Kwasniewski’s New Book


Editor’s Note: Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who received an advance copy of Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages  Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s new book on sacred liturgy — has written the following reflection on it and given us permission to publish it. We are honored to be able to share these thoughts from His Excellency on the topic of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The whole meaning and aim of creation—and in the first place, of the spiritual creatures, namely, angels and men—consists in glorifying the Triune God through their existence, through their life, and through visible acts of worship. The most sublime act of God’s glorification is the worship of adoration (latria), which man has to perform according to his nature, that is, both in a spiritual, interior way and in a bodily, exterior way, as explained lucidly by Saint Thomas Aquinas:

Certain sensible works are performed by man, not to stimulate God by such things, but to awaken man himself to divine matters by these actions, such as prostrations, genuflections, vocal prayers, and hymns. These things are done not because God needs them, for He knows all things, and His will is immutable, and the disposition of His mind does not admit of movement from a body for His own sake; rather, we do these things for our sakes, so that our attention may be directed to God by these sensible deeds and that our love may be aroused. At the same time, then, we confess by these actions that God is the author of soul and body, to Whom we offer both spiritual and bodily acts of homage.[1]

In order that man may be able to offer God a most worthy worship, God Himself became man and taught us by His words and acts how to worship. Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated by His example that the essence of true worship consists in filial fear and in the loving reverence of God: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb 5:7). Through His redeeming sacrifice of the Cross, Christ the God-man made men capable of worshiping God truly by associating the Church with this, His own highest act of worship.

The liturgy of the Church is the more true and God-pleasing, the more all of its elements—words, gestures, music, architecture, liturgical objects and paraments, and, of course, the state of mind and soul of the celebrant and of the assisting faithful—correspond to the spirit of Christ the High Priest, to His filial fear and to His loving reverence towards God. He alone is the “universal priest of God the Father,” the “catholicus sacerdos Patris,” according to an affirmation of Tertullian (Adv. Marc., IV, 9; IV, 35). The entire life of Jesus Christ was a glorification, an adoration, of God the Father: “I glorified you on earth” (Jn 17:4). Therefore, the life and work of Christ constitutes a reminder to fallen humanity of the first duty and of the very first commandment: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Mt 4:10). Giving glory to God brings true salvation to men, as the liturgy of the Church says: “Our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation.”[2]

The Church, the Bride of Christ, has as her first duty to proclaim and to praise the majesty of God and the wonders of His redeeming work. Christ, the only true worshipper of the Father, imbued His Bride with His reverential worshiping spirit. The reverential, adoring, sacred, and keenly Christocentric spirit of the liturgy is part of the spiritual “genetic inheritance” of the Church. Since the beginning and throughout her bimillennial history, the Church preserved this spirit of the liturgy and realized it in her rituals, above all in the rite of Holy Mass, the sacramental celebration of the sacrifice of the Cross. Since the beginning of the Church, this liturgical program sounded forth: “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with fear and reverence [cum metu et reverentia], for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:28-29).

Due to the consequences of original sin, which remain in the sons and daughters of the Church and in her ministers, there has always been in the history of the Church the temptation to yield to an egocentric, anthropocentric, naturalistic, and idolatrous tendency in worship. This means yielding to a perversion of the meaning and of the rite of divine worship, so that the essential liturgical law proclaimed in the words of Sacred Scripture, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Ps 115:1), is perverted into: “To us, O Lord, to us, and to our name give glory!” The texts and the rites of the reformed liturgy issued after the Second Vatican Council show unfortunately a shift towards an anthropocentric mentality, and this, contrary to the basic teaching of the liturgical Constitution of the same Council. The imprecise character of the reformed liturgy leads often to a kind of free-style celebration, which destroys the very nature of true worship. The widespread practice of the reformed liturgy demonstrates the fact of liturgical anarchy in the Church of our days. The true apostolic and perennial spirit and practice of the liturgy is in some way in exile.

The rehabilitation and restoration of the traditional Roman liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI and before him already to a small extent by Pope John Paul II marks the beginning of the return of this spirit and practice from exile back into the ordinary life of the Church. The traditional Roman liturgy, since it reflects and realizes in a most sure manner the liturgical spirit of Christ Himself, is nowadays conquering slowly but steadily new generations of Catholics. This process cannot be reversed, because the traditional liturgy is the clearest voice of the Bride of Christ—a voice that was heard and experienced by our forefathers for over a thousand years. This liturgy remains therefore always young and up-to-date, because it constitutes the very living expression of the faith of the Church. To the traditional Roman liturgy one may apply an affirmation of Saint Irenaeus, paraphrasing it in the following manner: “This liturgy, which, having been received from the Church, we do preserve, and which always, by the Spirit of God, renewing its youth as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel, causes the vessel itself containing it to renew its youth.”[3] The traditional Roman liturgy in the objective aspect of its content and ritual is the most apt manner to renew souls spiritually and thereby the Church herself. As we read in the words of the Eucharistic Hymn Sacris solemniis of Saint Thomas Aquinas, nova sint omnia: corda, voces et opera: “may the liturgy renew all things: hearts, voices, and works.” The same truth express the first words spoken in the traditional Roman rite: Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam, “I shall go in to the altar of God, Who giveth joy to my youth.” In this way we begin a ritual permeated with beauty, powerfully summoning us to holiness, the true youthfulness.

Peter Kwasniewski offers to us a precious book with the emblematic and extremely apt title Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages. The author demonstrates masterfully the perennial theological, spiritual, and ritual meaning of the liturgy of the Mass. However, Dr. Kwasniewski does not merely present us with the truth in its theoretical aspect. The liturgical truth becomes more evident and convincing through the numerous witnesses of people of different ages and states of life to whom the author gives a voice. What is most striking and moving are the voices of young people, whom the traditional Roman liturgy spontaneously attracts, as truth and beauty always attract sincere hearts and souls. Such witnesses cause the edifice of anti-traditional ideas of today’s liturgical nomenklatura to collapse. The traditional Roman rite is the rite of all ages and is therefore the true Youth Mass.

May this new book by Peter Kwasniewski, published by Angelico Press, circulate as widely as possible and reach especially those in the Church who have the crucial responsibility for the liturgy. May bishops and most of all the Supreme Pastor of the Church listen to the voices of many young people who bear witness to the up-to-date character and the perennial youth of the traditional Roman rite. May God grant that not only the “little ones” in the Church (the young people and the laity) be lovers, defenders, and witnesses of the traditional Roman liturgy, the liturgy of all ages, but also—and indeed in the first place, as their office requires—the Shepherds of the Church, and especially her Supreme Pastor. I offer my sincere congratulations to Dr. Kwasniewski and to Angelico Press for this book, with constitutes a valuable contribution on behalf of the authentic renewal of the sacred liturgy and of its practice in the Church of our days. May we have more serious liturgical scholars who, like Dr. Kwasniewski, are at the same time true adorers of Christ, and lovers and defenders of the traditional Roman liturgy, the liturgy of all ages and of the Saints, so that the liturgical life of the Church may keep its perennial beauty and youth. May all those who do not yet know the traditional Roman rite of the Mass, or who reject it due to ignorance or other reasons, come to experience this form of the Church’s worship and discover in it the beauty of God’s house and the dwelling-place of His glory (cf. Ps 25:8).

June 24, 2017

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

[1] Summa Contra Gentiles, III, 119, 4.

[2] Roman Missal, Common Preface IV.

[3] cf. Adversus Haereses, III, 24, 1.

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Why the Russians Conceived the Global Warming Scam

by Cliff Kincaid on June 20, 2017


One of my duties at Accuracy in Media (AIM) has been to expose left-wingers in the media and Congress who were soft on the old Soviet Union and are now acting like hard-liners on Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It is a fascinating topic which exposes the duplicity of the left-wing obsession with Russia.

These people, who were soft on the Soviet Union and now hard on Russia, are the worst kind of hypocrites. Their hypocrisy is further demonstrated by the abundant evidence that the global warming or climate change theory, which they now embrace, was conceived by Soviet communists as a means by which to destroy the industrial base in the United States. This disinformation theme has been embraced by the liberals now claiming to be tough on Russia.

Don’t take my word for it. When Natalie Grant Wraga died in 2002 at the age of 101, The Washington Post recognized her expertise as a Soviet expert, noting that she was “born in czarist Russia, saw great upheaval in her native land and became an expert in unmasking Soviet deception methods for the State Department…”

But the Post would not admit that fact in today’s political climate.

The liberal Economist magazine wrote, “She was perhaps the only person alive in the West who could claim such an intimate knowledge of Russian political thinking, from tsarist times to the collapse of the Soviet Union.” She commented, “Many people are studying the past, but very few are studying the present. Keep your eyes open and your ears open.”

This is good advice. One of the great Soviet/Russian deceptions, Wraga wrote, was the idea that humans were changing the climate and that humans could save the earth through socialism. She said, “…protection of the environment has become the principal tool for attack against the West.”

In her 1998 article, “Green Cross: Gorbachev and Enviro-Communism,” Wraga, who dropped her last name and wrote under the byline Natalie Grant, explains in detail how the Soviet deception campaign, using the climate as an organizing tool, was developed. It was launched after the so-called collapse of the Soviet state, when Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, embarked on an environmental crusade, using the United Nations and other international organizations.

The veteran journalist Wes Vernon wrote about Grant’s research in this area, in an article entitled, “The Marxist Roots of the Global Warming Scare.”

The big event, as Grant called it, was a Moscow conference in January, 1990. As Time magazine described it, “At a meeting of the Global Forum in Moscow in 1990, when he was still Soviet President, Gorbachev proposed an organization roughly analogous to the International Red Cross to contend with environmental problems that cross national boundaries.” Among the guests and speakers was then-U.S. senator and future vice president Al Gore.

Talk about “collusion” with the Russians! Where was the FBI investigation?

The collusion took place through the Global Forum and various United Nations conferences, including the Earth Summit of 1992, giving rise to the concept of “sustainable development,” another way to describe socialism.

Grant wrote, “Protection of the environment may be used as a pretext to adopt a series of measures designed to undermine the industrial base of developed nations. It may also serve to introduce malaise by lowering their standard of living and implanting communist values.”

Grant predicted how this campaign would proceed, using “nightmarish” pictures of floods, scorched earth, disease and death, unless drastic action was taken at the international level to curb industrial activity in the capitalist West.

She said the campaign would be driven by Moscow’s sympathizers or dupes in “science,” academia, “and the slavishly obedient Establishment media,” all for the purpose of forcing the United States and other Western countries “to accept measures and regulations harmful to the Western world.”

In short, for communism to succeed, capitalism would have to be portrayed as based on exploitation—but not of man, as the old Marxist theory held. Rather, capitalism was now exploiting the earth! The whole purpose of this dogma has been to inhibit global capitalism, the only system that has proven capable of meeting the growing needs of expanding populations. But this time the claim was that human economic progress threatened the environment because of the capitalist model on which it was based.

Hence, President Obama’s Paris climate change agreement was designed to curtail U.S. industrial expansion while sending foreign aid to the rest of the world. It was a Marxist plan that benefited Russia, a major oil and gas producer.

On June 1, when he announced pulling out of the climate change agreement, President Donald Trump put his finger on the key problem, which was deliberately part of the plan. He attacked “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country” while creating a so-called Green Climate Fund which would cost the United States “a vast fortune” to be sent to the other nations of the world.

In other words, Trump’s pull-out from the agreement works AGAINST Russian interests and those of the global socialists.

Nevertheless, the propaganda campaign continues. In July, Netflix releases the film “Chasing Coral,” which attempts to blame man for “dramatically changing” and losing coral reefs in the world’s oceans on a global scale. With carbon emissions said to be “warming the seas,” the audience will be told of the “catastrophe” that is “silently raging underwater” unless we wake up and dramatically restrict our lifestyles.

Meanwhile, Ohio State University has released a “study” in the Journal of Peace Research suggesting that climate change could lead to “food violence.” One of the authors is quoted in an Ohio State University press release as saying, “Development aid is important now and it is likely to be even more important in the future as we look for ways to increase climate resilience.”

In other words, the United States must pay more to the other nations of the world. This is global socialism.

It looks like the “nightmarish” scenarios predicted by Natalie Grant are not yet at an end.

But when will the liberals wake up? Answer: they won’t. Like James Hodgkinson, a true believer in the global warming theory, they want to “tax the rich” in their own country and will shoot to kill those who stand in the way of this global redistribution scheme.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted atcliff.kincaid@aim.orgView the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.



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 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said unto him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip saith unto him, “Come and see” (John 1:45-46).

While there would certainly be push back in so many places, this is in fact the way for bishops to gain more more discerning the priesthood and ultimately becoming priests. Catholic liberalism is a complete and total failure but so many are in denial about it from the top down.

This is a challenging article but prophetic and the periphery, like Bethlehem, his leading the way!

Why Aren’t Other Dioceses Looking to Lincoln?

(Photo from the 2015 Mass of Ordination in the Diocese of Lincoln, NE)
So often these days we read of the ongoing collapse of Catholicism in the west.  In diocese after diocese we see parishes and schools closing or consolidating, a decline in priests as older clergy pass away at rates higher than new ordinations, and a widespread loss of the next generation to either the secular left or the evangelical right.

We also read of various plans to counter these trends. Everyone seems to have a program to promote, a new strategy to increase vocations, to increase weekly Mass attendance, to keep teens from fleeing the faith…

However, what’s not as widely known is that we already have a blueprint for success: the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.  The problem is that few are talking about it.  So let’s fix that.

First, a few facts you might not know about the Diocese of Lincoln:

According to the Official Catholic Directory and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Lincoln, NE is the only diocese in the United States to place in the Top 20 for the ratio of ordinands to population in every survey conducted from 1993-2012.

Despite having a Catholic population of only 97,000, the Lincoln diocese ordained 22 men from 2010-2012.  Only seven diocese in the entire country ordained more.  One of those, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (with a Catholic population over 4.2 million) ordained 34 men during those same three years.  In other words, L.A. only ordained four more men per year on average despite having a population 44X greater than Lincoln.

Bishop James Conley recently noted that, with this year’s class, the diocese will have ordained 17 men to the priesthood in a 24 month span of time; unheard of in this day and age.
As of 2012 the diocese had a total of 150 priests serving 134 parishes.

There is no permanent diaconate program in Lincoln. There are, however, installed acolytes and lectors constituted of lay men.

There are also 33 Catholic schools, including 6 high schools.  One of those high schools, St. Pius X, produced 18 of the 48 men enrolled at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in 2014.

It’s also interesting to note that 96 percent of students attending diocesan schools are Catholic.

Many of the schools are staffed by female religious, of which the Diocese of Lincoln boasts 141 sisters from 14 different orders. Many have priests teaching high school theology and often serving as principals as well.

Having established that Lincoln is a thriving community of Catholicism, seemingly impervious to many of the challenges encountered elsewhere, we now need to look at the secret of their success.

The Lincoln blueprint can be narrowed down to a few foundational elements:

Orthodox Bishops
Against all odds and the prevailing winds of the post-conciliar Church, Lincoln has avoided the craziness and irreverence that has afflicted so many other dioceses. This has largely been achieved through the stability and orthodoxy provided over the last fifty years by three men: Bishop Glennon Flavin (1967-1992), Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (1992-2012), and Bishop James Conley (2012-present). They succeeded despite the occasional scorn of their brother bishops, and by making the Church’s perennial priorities their own.
The National Catholic Reporter (known as the Fishwrap to Fr. Z readers) once bemoaned that it was as if the “reforms” so prevalent in the aftermath of Vatican II had missed Lincoln altogether. Exactly.

The Male Only Sanctuary
Several things immediately differentiate Lincoln from nearly every other diocese in the country when it comes to the sacred liturgy.
To a large extent, Lincoln has preserved a male only sanctuary. In this area the diocese has simply given more weight to tradition and common sense instead of “modern sensibilities” that are more secular minded.

The diocese remains the only one in the country to maintain an altar serving policy of boys only. As I have written about before, this is in direct recognition of what Rome itself acknowledged back in 1994:

The Holy See wishes to recall that it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar. As is well known, this has led to a reassuring development of priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of altar boys will always continue.

Lincoln also utilizes installed acolytes and lectors for the Holy Mass. Since it is an instituted ministry, the role of an acolyte is only open to men. Both of these instituted ministries commenced during Bishop Flavin’s time during the 1970’s.

As an example, a parish with 1,200 or so families could have as many as 30-40 acolytes. They function mainly in a capacity to serve during Mass, often much like an altar boy or deacon: they turn the missal pages for the priest, carry the processional cross, distribute communion, handle the thurifer for incensing, and so on.

These acolytes are utilized on an as needed basis and are not viewed as simply another way to increase lay participation. An average Sunday mass with 800 people would typically have only 2 main acolytes and 3 more assist the extra priest to distribute Holy Communion. It’s also interesting to note that the faithful only receive under one species in Lincoln, foregoing the need to double the number of acolytes. This is of course in stark contrast to most dioceses that make ordinary use of

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, to the point of abusing the intention set forth by Rome.
As stated previously, Lincoln also utilizes installed lectors for most Sunday Masses. Back in the early 1980’s Bishop Rembert Weakland (the progressive homosexual prelate of Milwaukee at the time) publicly chastised Bishop Flavin of Lincoln for not embracing the innovation of female readers for Mass. While Flavin’s successor Bishop Bruskewitz would eventually acquiesce and permit their use in the diocese, female readers are still more commonly utilized for daily masses and school masses, with lectors more prevalent for Sunday’s and holy days of obligation.

Tradition Friendly 
Those in Lincoln will speak of the lack of Catholic tribalism and the absence of the liturgical wars so prevalent in other dioceses. In large part this is due to the environment established by Lincoln’s bishops. Reverent Novus Ordo liturgies have served the faithful well, preventing the frustration that so many encounter in other dioceses.

However, Lincoln has also avoided the hostility toward tradition that so often defines the traditionalists experience elsewhere. Back in the 1990’s then Bishop Bruskewitz invited the newly established Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) to the diocese to establish a North American seminary, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, NE. The Fraternity exclusively celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form and adheres to the liturgical books in use in 1962.

Presently there are about 7 or so diocesan priests who offer the Traditional Latin Mass; however, more are learning it. The rector at the diocesan seminary (St. Gregory the Great) offers it to the seminarians once a month.

This is probably one of the more interesting sides of Lincoln. The Latin Mass community is not very large in Lincoln. Because the diocese has historically been so conservative there has never been a great battle cry from traditionalists for the exclusive return of the Latin Mass. Many within the community can even be seen at various Novus Ordo parishes participating fully within the liturgy .

The number of priests learning the old Mass is on the rise, though mainly among the younger priests (of which there are many). Most of the older priests will delegate it to the FSSP priests in the diocese at the seminary or to St. Francis’ parish. Bishops Bruskewitz, Conley and Robert Finn (formerly of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph) all offer it regularly in the diocese.

Lincoln’s diocesan priests and the FSSP priests have an excellent relationship, and it is only getting better. St. Gregory the Great diocesan seminarians have gone to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and vice versa, for evenings of prayer and fraternity and for vespers in both the old and new rites.

Liturgical Continuity
As stated previously, the Lincoln diocese has intentionally avoided the modern tendency to clericalize the laity by delegating liturgical roles to the faithful. Thanks to its use of acolytes and lectors, instead of the more common excessive use of readers and EMHC’s, the diocese has not blurred the lines between ministers and laity, or between sanctuary and nave. It’s obvious to see how this would reinforce the ministerial priesthood in Lincoln, as well as the continuity between both forms of the Roman Rite.

Proper liturgical orientation has been further reinforced through the manner in which many masses are offered in Lincoln: with the priest facing toward the liturgical east, or Ad Orientem.

As I have written about before, the last two years Bishop Conley has offered all Sunday masses Ad Orientem during Advent. Further, he has publicly encouraged the priests of his diocese to do the same. From what I have been told, about 40% of parishes chose to follow his lead. For many, however, this was not anything new, as most large diocesan masses are already being offered Ad Orientem.

A Catholic Education
While I have saved this for last, in many ways education is the primary ingredient to Lincoln’s recipe for success. Bishop Glennon Flavin’s vision for a diocese that allowed its children to go to Catholic school at an affordable cost and to be taught authentic Catholicism by religious sisters and priests is integral to the diocesan mission.

While Lincoln’s Catholic population is less than 100,000, they have provided the faithful with 27 elementary schools and 6 high schools to educate the next generation. More importantly, most diocesan schools have at least 1-2 habited sisters and all Catholic schools are staffed by at least one priest.

As noted earlier, high school theology classes are only taught by priests and religious sisters. For example, the Catholic high school in Lincoln, Pius X, has over 1200 students and is staffed by 4 religious sisters (in traditional religious habits) and 15 priests who always wear their clerics. Each newly ordained priest can expect to teach high school for at least 5 years. Priests who are assigned to parishes in smaller towns with a Catholic high school are still expected to teach as well.

Unlike other dioceses which require school masses only once a week, or in some cases once a month, each grade school in the Diocese of Lincoln is required to offer daily mass for the entire school each day.

However, there may be no better example of Lincoln’s commitment to the future than the fact that it’s diocesan schools have some of the lowest tuition costs in the entire country. As an example, St. Teresa’s Catholic School in town has an annual tuition cost of only $100 per student, and yet it is a thriving school with a habited sister as principal.

As one local explained, “These good, solid, Catholic schools are the roots of the diocese and continue to pump out religious vocations and plain good Catholics, thanks to the work of our clergy, diocesan staff, and laity.”

Why Aren’t Other Dioceses Looking to Lincoln?
Why more dioceses aren’t looking to incorporate the Lincoln model is a mystery. It is easy to see how some might dismiss it, however.

Lincoln is a rural diocese. It’s exceptionally high number of religious sisters help to reduce tuition costs for schools. The relatively small size of the Catholic population creates an insulated environment unlike that found in such diverse and populous areas as Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York.

Of course there may be other reasons why the Lincoln blueprint is apparently being ignored.

No doubt many bishops, priests, and lay faithful would rather forgo a boom in vocations if it means having to reestablish clear divisions between the nave and the sanctuary, or ending such post-conciliar innovations as altar girls or Extraordinary Ministers. The secular push for egalitarianism has been enthusiastically embraced by most bishops these past few decades. It would seem that either pride, or fear, or an agenda that is not exclusively focused on saving souls, is keeping many from reversing course. Or maybe some dioceses simply don’t want orthodox Catholicism.

We can only hope and pray that more of those within the Church hierarchy humbly and attentively look to Lincoln for some answers. There is a blueprint for rebuilding a vibrant Church, an authentic and thriving Catholicism.

Look to Lincoln.

(I would like to thank Tanner Lockhorn of Lincoln, NE for his assistance and significant contribution to this post. Tanner is a life long resident of Lincoln and a graduate of St. Pius X High School).

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It is astonishing, disturbing, and saddening to read certain remarks that seem to question the Faith of the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

It is sometimes said that the devil does not really exist, as if belief in the devil was optional or even debatable in the Church. Satan would be just a way of speaking of the mystery of evil in our lives, a symbol belonging to an outdated culture of bygone days. But is he really?

The trend is towards disbelief, even in the Catholic Church. For example, on May 31, 2017, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit Superior General – traditionally known as the “Black Pope” because of the importance of his position – ventured to broach the theme of evil in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

To the question of the journalist, who asks whether the question of evil finds its explanation in a process of purely human psychology or comes from a higher being, Fr. Sosa gave an answer so astounding that it is worth quoting in full:

From my point of view, evil is part of the mystery of freedom. If the human being is free, he can choose between good and evil. Christians believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and God is free, but He always chooses to do good because He is all goodness. We have created symbolic figures, such as the devil, to express [the reality of] evil. Social conditioning can also represent this figure, since there are people who act [in an evil way] because they are in an environment where it is difficult to act to the contrary.

In other words, evil is reduced to a purely psychological dimension and to an a priori category that is really just the fruit of the history of mentalities.

Fr. Sosa was answered from the opposite perspective by a son of St. Francis on the other side of the Atlantic. Archbishop Charles Chaput, a Capuchin, is in charge of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In his column on June 5, a few days after the resounding publication of the El Mundo interview, the prelate wrote on the question of evil, offering an analysis of the ideas of Leszek Kołakowski (1927-2009), a Polish Catholic philosopher known for his criticism of Marxism: “The devil and evil are constants at work in human history and in the struggles of every human soul,” he once declared.

The archbishop continued on a sharper tone: “And note that Kolakowski – unlike some of our own Catholic leaders who should know better – was not using the word ‘devil’ as a symbol of the darkness in our own hearts, or a metaphor for the bad things that happen in the world.” It’s hard not to see this as a dig at the General of the Jesuits.

Archbishop Chaput’s final remark is also very interesting: “The devil, more than anyone, appreciates this irony, i.e., that we can’t fully understand the mission of Jesus without him. And he exploits this to his full advantage. He knows that consigning him to myth inevitably sets in motion our same treatment of God.” He could hardly have made it more clear: denying the existence of the devil sooner or later leads to a profession of atheism.

Fr. Sosa is known for being close to the current pope. However, Francis does not share the Jesuit’s opinion on the mystery of evil – far from it. In a compilation of then-Cardinal Bergoglio’s letters, homilies, and talks called, “Only Love Can Save Us”, the existence of the devil is clearly asserted: “Careful: we are not fighting against human powers, but against the powers of darkness. Just like he did with Jesus, Satan will seek to seduce us, to lead us astray, to offer us ‘viable alternatives’.”

More recently, on October 30, 2014, in a homily during his morning Mass at Santa Marta, the Holy Father was very explicit: to think they have “made people think that the devil was a myth, a character, an idea, the concept of evil. The devil exists and we have to fight against him.”

On this point, the pope is faithful to the teaching of the Church.

The holy Gospels are full of references to the fact that the Devil really exists as a person. Jesus confronts the prince of Darkness several times when He practices exorcisms on possessed people. He meets him personally in the desert before vigorously driving him away: “Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve” (Mt. 4:10). He speaks of him in His teachings, describing Satan’s action in the world, or announcing that the “gates of hell” will never prevail against the Church He is going to found (Mt. 16:18).

Likewise, St. Paul, in his epistles, makes a clear distinction between the sins of men and the one who inspires them, Satan and the other evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. He exhorts us to put on “the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). The great Apostle himself is tried, lest the greatness of the revelations made to him exalt him: “There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me” (II Cor. 12:7).

As for St. John, he gives us the words of Christ that are anything but ambiguous: “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (Jn. 12: 31). In the Apocalypse, he presents the victory of the immolated Lamb after a terrible battle against Satan, his angels and his followers: “And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Apoc. 12:9).

In keeping with Sacred Scripture, all of Tradition unanimously asserts the existence of Satan and the evil spirits.

The Fathers of the Church unmask them in their battles against the errors of the gnostics and the heresies spread by the prince of lies. Among them are Tertullian, St. Irenaeus, Origen, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. John Chrysostom, St. Eusebius of Vercelli, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Leo the Great, and others.

The devil is a creature of God; he was initially excellent and even brilliant, but he did not remain in the truth where it had been established: The devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof” (Jn. 8:44). Satan rose up against the Lord, and the evil was not in his nature, but in a free and contingent act of his own will, an act of pure malice and revolt, by which he sought to take the place of God.

When the Manichean dualism resurfaced with the Cathars and the Albigensians, the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the Lateran, in 1215, solemnly taught that “the devil and other demons were created by God naturally good, but they became evil by their own doing. Man, however, sinned at the prompting of the devil.”

The existence of Satan therefore has indeed been constantly maintained by the Faith of the Church. It is a truth that is not up for debate, for it is an integral part of her most solemn teaching. It has been asserted by multiple councils under the form of professions of faith.

By Christ and holy baptism, the Christian is set free from the devil’s dominion (Council of Florence, 1442). Through justification by grace, he escapes the “power of the devil and of death” (Council of Trent, 1547), but if he sins again, he is again delivered “into the power of the devil”, unless he resorts to the sacrament of penance (Council of Trent, 1551). Such is the Faith of the Church, and the reason the baptismal promises are renewed every year in the Easter liturgy. To into eternal life, one must renounce Satan, profess the Faith in the Most Blessed Trinity and adhere to Christ the Savior.

May these reminders of the Faith of the Church enlighten the General of the Jesuits and help him to submit to them. The devil and the dogmas, that is to say, the truths revealed by God, are not just symbols. Otherwise we fall into the “sewer of all heresies”, that St. Pius X condemned under the name of Modernism.

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Amoris LaetitiaLife Site News

Cardinal Müller: Those Who Have Left a Valid Marriage and Re-married Cannot Receive Holy Communion

Cardinal Müller: Those Who Have Left a Valid Marriage and Re-married Cannot Receive Holy Communion

We hear part of the truth spoken by Cardinal Muller, but he refuses to condemn Amoris Laetitia.

ROME, Italy, June 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Holy Communion cannot be given to Catholics who have left a “valid” marriage and have become civilly divorced and remarried to someone else until they have repented of and confessed “all grave sin,” said the Vatican’s doctrinal chief, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in a new interviewpublished today.

“Contrition, confession, and reparation are the three necessary elements for absolution. These are the immediate conditions for the receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is the same divine person who forgives us,” he said in the interview with the National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, considered second only to the Pope as the Vatican’s authority on doctrinal matters, said the bond of marriage was created by God to be unbreakable.

“I have said it many times, and I repeat it here again. Matrimony is instituted by God the Creator and is elevated as a sacrament by Jesus Christ. …Jesus established clearly, and without doubt, the indissolubility of valid Matrimony,” he said.

“This is what we must preach, declare, and explain to the Catholic faithful,” he added.

The Catholic Church teaches that those who leave their spouse to whom they are validly married for sexual relations with another person commit the grave sin of adultery, which is against the Sixth Commandment. The Church, following St. Paul, furthermore teaches that those who are in grave sin cannot receive Holy Communion since, having cut themselves off from God by their sin, they would be eating unworthy, even to their own “condemnation.”

Cardinal Müller’s words come after an Argentinian bishop celebrated a special Mass in his diocese earlier this month for civilly-divorced-and-remarried couples living in adultery, where they were all invited to receive Holy Communion.

The special Mass came nine months after the bishops of Buenos Aires released guidelines based on Pope Francis’ Exhortation Amoris Laetitia in which they said that in “complex circumstances” when remarried couples cannot “obtain a declaration of nullity,” priests can nevertheless move forward to grant them access to the sacraments, including Communion.

Then, in a surprise move, Pope Francis wrote to the bishops, telling them that there is ‘no other interpretation’ of his Exhortation than what they put in their guidelines.

But Müller said in his interview with Pentin that Catholic couples who find themselves facing “marital difficulty” should be helped, “but not only with pragmatic reflections according to the spirit of the world, but according to the Holy Spirit, with the means of the sacraments and the internal and canonical conditions for the reception of Holy Communion, which necessar(ily) includes the confession of all grave sin.”

“Contrition, confession, and reparation are the three necessary elements for absolution. These are the immediate conditions for receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is the same divine person who forgives us,” he stated.

Despite Cardinal Müller’s numerous statements that Amoris Laetitia has not opened the door to giving Communion to adulterers (for example, herehere, and here), various cardinals, bishops, and bishops’ groups have directly disobeyed his directives.

Bishops in ArgentinaMaltaGermany, and Belgium have issued pastoral guidelines based on their reading of the Exhortation that allow Communion to be given to civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery. This interpretation has also been pushed by high-ranking cardinals such as Francesco Coccopalmerio and Blase Cupich.

But other bishops, such as those in Canada and Poland, have issued statements based on their reading of the Exhortation that follows Catholic teaching and forbids adulterous couples from receiving Communion.

Read the full article at Life Site News

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U.S. Bishop: No funerals, Communion for people in same-sex ‘marriages’

by Claire Chretien

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, June 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Those in same-sex “marriages” shouldn’t present themselves to or be admitted to Holy Communion, nor may they receive a Catholic funeral if they died without showing signs of repentence, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki says.

Paprocki is the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois and well-known to the pro-life and pro-family movements for his defense of Catholic orthodoxy and morality.

On June 12, Paprocki signed a “Decree Regarding Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” It was sent to priests and diocesan staff last week and subsequently leaked to media sympathetic with the homosexual cause.

“The Church has not only the authority, but the serious obligation, to affirm its authentic teaching on marriage and to preserve and foster the sacred value of the married state,” Paprocki explained after reminding his flock of “the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church since her founding by Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paprocki wrote that he has a “responsibility as diocesan bishop to guide the people of God entrusted to me with charity but without compromising the truth.” Because of this, he outlined diocesan policy on issues related to same-sex “marriage,” citing the Code of Canon Law throughout.

Paprocki holds a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, in addition to a civil law degree from DePaul University and theology degrees. (Paprocki co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to offer legal services to the poor when he was a parish priest.)

No diocesan facilities – such as parishes, schools, or “dedicated, consecrated or used for Catholic worship” – are to be “used for solemnization or blessing of same-sex marriages or hosting of receptions for these events,” Paprocki instructed. Priests and diocesan employees are not to assist at or solemnize same-sex “weddings.” Doing so could result in “just punishment” for them.

Citing Canon 915 and 916, Paprocki wrote, “Given the objectively immoral nature of the relationship created by same-sex marriages, persons in such unions should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Canon 915 says that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Canon 916 instructs Catholics conscious of grave sin not to “receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession.”

Paprocki instructed his priests to privately meet with people living in such situations, “calling them to conversion.” They can receive Holy Communion after they have been “restored to Communion with the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

In the case of someone in a same-sex “marriage” in danger of death, he or she may be given Holy Communion as part of Viaticum (the Last Rites) provided he or she “expresses repentence for his or her sins.”

Paprocki’s instructions also outlined how to deal with the reception of the sacraments for children whose parent or guardians are living in a same-sex relationship. If there is “well-founded hope that he or she will be brought up in the Catholic faith,” it’s okay to baptize him or her. Pastors should “use due discretion in determining the appropriateness of the public celebration of the baptism.”

Children living with same-sex couples may receive First Holy Communion and Confirmation provided they are “otherwise qualified and properly disposed.”

They won’t be denied admission to Catholic schools or catechetical programs, Paprocki said, but the children will be taught “according to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.” So “parents or those who legally take the place of parents” should be aware of this if they choose to enroll their children in diocesan schools. They must agree to follow the Family School Agreement.

Those who have publicly entered same-sex “marriages” may not be Baptism or Confirmation sponsors. They are not to receive the sacrament of Confirmation unless they have “withdrawn from the objectively immoral relationship.” They are also not to serve in “public liturgical ministry,” like being a reader at Mass or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

The risk of ‘pubic scandal’

“Unless they have given some signs of repentence before their death, deceased persons who had lived openly in a same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites,” the letter continues. “In case of doubt, the proper pastor or parochial administrator is to consult the local ordinary, whose judgment is to be followed (cf. c. 1184).”

It was this section in particular to which the liberal media drew attention.

The Code of Canon Law states in Canon 1184:

Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:

1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;

2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;

3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines scandal as “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil” (CCC 2284).

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued similar guidelines last summer.

“Two persons in an active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community,” wrote Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. “Such a relationship cannot be accepted into the life of the parish without undermining the faith of the community, most notably the children…those living openly same-sex lifestyles should not hold positions of responsibility in a parish, nor should they carry out any liturgical ministry or function.”

Chaput’s guidelines also instructed priests that those actively participating in adultery – another sexual union the Church labels immoral – are not to receive Holy Communion.

Pro-gay Jesuit Father James Martin seemed to accidentally explain consistent Catholic teaching on marriage and public scandal with the following tweet:

“And?” asked TradStrips, a Facebook page that posts traditional Catholic memes.

“When you’re so liberal that you accidentally wrap around to being conservative again,” one commenter posted.

“Brilliant deduction,” wrote another.

Martin went on to release a storm of tweets suggesting Paprocki’s guidelines should ban from Catholic funerals women who have given birth out of wedlock, people who haven’t been “forgiving,” and people who don’t respect the environment. He did not appear to make a distinction between a person committing, and then repenting, of a sin like fornication versus continually and publicly living in defiance of Church teaching on homosexual activty.

He also tweeted links to statements from New Ways Ministry and Dignity USA, two groups that reject Catholic teaching on sexuality. The New Ways Ministry post went as far as to suggest that Catholics who “deny climate change” ought to be denied funerals under Paprocki’s reasoning. It also said that Paprocki’s upholding of Church teaching was telling employees not to “adhere to a most fundamental church teaching and follow their properly formed consciences.”

“Channeling Fr. James Martin’s outrageous claim that ‘Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is sinful’, [New Ways Ministry’s] Shine apparently thinks that, because it is manifest that everyone sins, everyone’s sins must be ‘manifest,'” observed canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters. “But Paprocki, having actually studied canon law, knows what canon law means by the phrase ‘manifest sinners’.”

“Paprocki’s decree is not aimed at a category of persons (homosexuals, lesbians, LGBT, etc., words that do not even appear in his document) but rather, it is concerned with an act, a public act, an act that creates a civilly-recognized status, namely, the act of entering into a ‘same-sex marriage,'” Peters explained. “That public act most certainly has public consequences, some civil and some canonical.”

Paprocki’s former secretary was murdered by a gay activist after she suggested he change his lifestyle.


Bp Paprocki’s norms on ‘same-sex marriage’

June 23, 2017



.A few days ago, doubtless in response to pastoral questions he had been receiving from ministers in his local Church, Springfield IL Bp Thomas Paprocki issued diocesan norms regarding ministry toward persons who had entered a ‘same-sex marriage’. These norms, hardly remarkable for what they say, are nevertheless noteworthy for being necessary and for Paprocki’s willingness to state them clearly while knowing what kind of vilification he would suffer in their wake.

Predictably New Way’s Ministry attacked Paprocki’s norms using equally predictable language and arguments and by hosting a combox replete with personal attacks on the bishop. All of this is sad, but none of it is newsworthy. Worth underscoring, though, is the glibness with which Robert Shine, an editor at New Ways, attempts to school Paprocki, of all people, on canon law, of all things. A little background.

Paprocki has, besides the master’s degree in theology that Shine claims, a further licentiate degree in theology and, even more, a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While I can’t quite say that Paprocki “wrote the book” on the defense of rights in the Church, he certainly wrote abook on it, his 580 page doctoral dissertation, Vindication and Defense of the Rights of the Christian Faithful through Administrative Recourse in the Local Church (1993), which tome I can spy from my desk right now. And before his canon law studies, Paprocki had already earned a civil law degree from DePaul University and had centered his legal practice around services to the poor.

And now Shine (sporting zero legal credentials) is going to tell Paprocki how canon law should be understood? Okay …

According to Shine, among the “other things wrong with Paprocki’s new guidelines” is their use of Canon 1184 which, as Shine correctly notes, restricts ecclesiastical funeral rites for, among others, “manifest sinners” whose funerals would provoke scandal. But then Shine attempts to explain what Canon 1184 means by the phrase “manifest sinners”.

Per Shine, “It is discrimination to target LGBT people when, in a certain sense, all Catholics could be deemed ‘manifest sinners.’” Channeling Fr. James Martin’s outrageous claim that “Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is sinful”, Shine apparently thinks that, because it is manifest that everyone sins, everyone’s sins must be “manifest”. But Paprocki, having actually studied canon law, knows what canon law means by the phrase “manifest sinners”.

Paprocki knows, for example, that the CLSA New Commentary (2001) discussing Canon 1184 at p. 1412, understands one in “manifest sin” as one “publicly known to be living in a state of grave sin”. That’s a far cry from Shine’s rhetorical jab, delivered as if it were the coup de grace to Paprocki’s position, “Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments?” Hardly anyone, I would venture, and so would Paprocki. But the law is not directed at those who, from time to time, commit sin, even a public sin; it is concerned about those who make an objectively sinful state their way of life. Fumble that distinction, as Shine does, and one’s chances of correctly reading Canon 1184 drop to, well, zero.

Yet Shine goes on, thinking that offering some examples of supposedly-sinning Catholics who yet are not refused funeral rites should shame Paprocki into changing his policy, citing, among other debatables, “Catholics who … deny climate change.” Yes. Shine actually said that. And this sort of silliness is supposed to give a prelate like Paprocki pause?

There are several other problems with Shine’s sorry attempts to explain the canon law of ecclesiastical funerals, but I want to end these remarks by highlighting a much more important point: Paprocki’s decree is not aimed at a category of persons (homosexuals, lesbians, LGBT, etc., words that do not even appear in his document) but rather, it is concerned with an act, a public act, an act that creates a civilly-recognized status, namely, the act of entering into a ‘same-sex marriage’. That public act most certainly has public consequences, some civil and some canonical.

Bp Paprocki, by long training and awesome office, understands what the consequences of ‘same-sex marriage’ are and are not and he is much more likely to be thinking clearly about them than is Mr Shine.

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June 22, 2017Thursday, Feast pf St. Thomas More
In the Cell of St. Thomas More

by Robert Moynahan


This morning we go to the cell of St. Thomas More, where he was held for about 15 months in the Tower of London from 1534 to 1535.


We have been traveling from Oxford to London in the footsteps of St. Thomas More, and of Blessed John Henry Newman, in order to arrive at this moment, when, in two hours, we will celebrate Mass in the cell where More was held before his execution by beheading on July 6, 1535.


Our intent is to pray for the intentions of all those who are prisoners, especially those who are falsely accused, and for all those who are victims of conscience, in political life and in the medical world, for all writers, communicators, and bearers of Good News, for the intentions of Pope Francis and of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and for the intentions of all who long for God’s peace and justice in this world, who hunger and thirst for it, and for those who long for the unity of the Church, and for those who work that the hungry and thirsty may receive nourishment and drink.


To offer prayers in this place, in the Tower of London, in the center of the City, in England, Mary’s Dowry, on this 22nd of June, in the Year of Our Lord 2017.


A pilgrim from Florida, Carol Marquardt, handed me a little hand-written note as we set out a few days ago. She said she felt she had heard these words in prayer. It reads: “Walking the way of the cross is never easy — cling to me. I carried your burden along the way in my walk — as your savior. Listening to others can sometimes confuse you, but never will I abandon you or leave you in such confusion unless God has allowed it for a time for his own higher purpose. Even then I walk and have walked beside you. Stress — reaching for answers or resolutions — will not suffice, only receptivity to my words and my timing as the Father allows. Journal entry, June 18th, Carol.”


In Littlemore, near Oxford, where Newman (1801-1890) made his confession to Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), in 1845, on October 8 and 9, and was received into the Catholic Church on October 9, we prayed for the renewal of the faith in England, for a new springtime of faith in these lands. Sister Caroline, a custodian in the place, gave us prayer cards with a prayer of Newman. I have it with me now. It reads:


Prayer of Newman
Some Definite Purpose 


by Cardinal John Henry Newman


God has created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me which He has
not committed to another.
I have my mission —
I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it
in the next.
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good — I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace,
a preacher of truth in my own place while not
intending it — if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never
be thrown away
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;

in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain.
He knows what he is about.
He may take away my friends.
He may throw me among strangers.
He may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink,
hide my future from me –

still He knows what He is about.


In the cell of St. Thomas More, and in memory of that good servant of the King, but of God first, we will pray for all these things.


What is the glory of God?


“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.


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