POPE BENEDICT’S ESSAY STRUCK A RAW NERVE OF THE SUPPORTERS OF FRANCIS THE MERCIFUL

CATHOLIC LEAGUE
FOR RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Benedict XVI Incurs Wrath Of Critics
April 17, 2019Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on reaction to an essay released last week by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
 
If only he would just shut up. That is the consensus of liberal and dissident Catholics to the brilliant essay by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the roots of clergy sexual abuse. They made it clear that their support for dialogue is a ruse.
 
The first sentence of the front-page news story in the April 12 edition of the New York Times set the tone: “In his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI is apparently tired of hiding.” The next sentence notes that he previously “declared he would ‘remain hidden to the world.'”
 
Get it? He should have stayed under his rock.
 
Why the anger? The Times says that his essay “amounted to the most significant undercutting yet of the authority of Pope Francis,” a view also held by John Thavis; he used to pose as a non-partisan journalist for the Catholic News Service.
 
The Catholic Left, after decades of criticizing Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, have become very protective of Pope Francis. They are upset with Benedict for raising issues they prefer not to talk about. Like homosexuality.  
 
Julie Hanlon Rubio, who teaches at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, is angered at the retired pope’s “willingness to blame a permissive culture and progressive theology for a problem that is internal and structural.” Rachel Donadio of The Atlantic finds it “strange” for him to talk about the “destabilizing” forces of the sexual revolution. Similarly, Thomas Farrell at the website opednews finds such talk “rubbish.”
 
It is fun to watch this dance. Usually, we are told that we cannot understand any social problem unless we come to grips with the environment that unleashed it. But when it comes to offering a root cause analysis of the clergy abuse scandal, we are told to focus on internal Church issues, not the cultural milieu in which it was embedded. In other words, we are expected to believe the scandal took place in a social vacuum.
 
Brian Flanagan at Marymount University says that to blame the 1960s and “a supposed collapse of moral theology” is “embarrassingly wrong.” From Marquette University we learn that theology professor James Bretzke says it is wrong to say that “liberal theologians” fostered an irresponsible sexual ethics that helped to create the problem.
 
They are in denial. Are they aware of a book by Anthony Kosnik, Human Sexuality, which was supported by the Catholic Theological Society of America? Or how about a book by the same title by Crooks and Bauer? These three authors maintain that there is no such thing as a deviant sexual act, and both volumes were assigned reading in many seminaries in the 1970s. Wouldn’t this suggest a collapse of moral theology?  
 
Some try to say that the sexual revolution had nothing to do with the problem because clergy sexual abuse occurred before the 1960s. This is the position taken by Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle. It is also accepted by Andrew Chesnut; he teaches Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Church historian Christopher Bellitto subscribes to this view as well.
 
It won’t work. Every study on the subject has shown that there was no crisis until the 1960s. Obviously, there were cases of abuse in the previous decades, but most of those priests who had sick urges kept them in check, until, that is, there was no penalty for acting out. Just read what happened in Boston.
 
Some are chagrined because Benedict only spoke about the abuser, not the enabling bishop. Michael Sean Winters feels this way. Tom Kington of the Los Angeles Times shares this view, saying the essay was “incendiary” for not discussing what Pope Francis stressed, namely the role of clericalism.
 
At least Winters and Kington don’t look as clueless as Bellitto or David Gibson. The former says, “The essay essentially ignores what we learned there,” a reference to the February summit in Rome on this subject. Gibson, the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, said that Benedict’s essay “runs against everything said and done at the February summit.”
 
Precisely. And for good reason—the summit never addressed why molesting priests acted out. It was content to discuss why some bishops made lousy decisions. Clericalism may account for why some bishops were enablers, but it is of no explanatory value understanding why abusing priests did what they did. It took Benedict to bring balance to the discussion.
 
It is impossible to honestly engage the issue of clergy sexual abuse without explaining the role of homosexual priests, though Benedict’s critics try to do so. 
 
For example, we have the spectacle of New Ways Ministry, a totally discredited outfit, telling us it is a “red herring” to mention homosexuals. Jamie Manson at the National Catholic Reporter, which is also partly responsible for the crisis, tells us that Benedict’s “radically homophobic theology” is responsible for the homosexual subculture.
 
Finally, we have Massimo Faggioli from Villanova University. He tries to deflect the obvious—the pernicious role played by homosexual priests in the scandal. He provides a link to one of the John Jay reports on the subject, as if that settles the issue.
 
This is a familiar retort, and it is unpersuasive. The John Jay researchers did an excellent job assembling the data—there is no reason to conclude that the two studies were deficient in terms of their methodology or data collection—but as with any study, conclusions drawn from the data are open to interpretation.
 
The researchers report that 8 in 10 of the molesting priests had sex with postpubescent males, and that less than five percent of them were pedophiles. There is only one word in the English language to describe such behavior: homosexuality.
 
Yet the researchers conclude that homosexuality is not the issue. How did they manage to skirt the obvious? They said not all the priests who had sex with adolescents identified themselves as homosexuals.
 
Now if the homosexual priests identified themselves as heterosexuals, would anyone in his right mind conclude that heterosexuals accounted for most of the problem? Self-identification is an interesting psychological variable, but it is not a substitute for drawing truthful conclusions based on behavior. A dwarf is still a dwarf even if he stands on stilts and announces he is no longer a dwarf.
 
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did the Catholic Church a great public service in outlining his thoughts on priestly sexual abuse, and there is nothing his detractors can do about it.
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WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THAT MASTER OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE



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Pope Benedict meets with rabbis from Germany and the questions discussed by the pope emeritus and the rabbis were not of little account. They have always been among the most controversial in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity: the messiah, the promised land, the covenant, worship, the commandments.

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 

24 apr 19

The Two Paschas of Jews and Christians. A Previously Unpublished Letter By the Pope Emeritus

Benedetto1


*

92 years after his birth and 6 after his resignation from the papacy, Joseph Ratzinger is still highly active. A few days after the sensational publication of his “notes” on the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, another never-before-published text of his is seeing the light, which was known to exist but can be read in its entirety only now, in this freshly published book edited by Elio Guerriero:

> Benedetto XVI in dialogo con il rabbino Arie Folger, “Ebrei e cristiani”, Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo, 2019.

The text now made public is the letter that the pope emeritus wrote to the chief rabbi of Vienna, Arie Folger, in August of 2018.

Rabbi Folger replied to this letter on September 4, with a letter of his own that is also published in the book.

And this epistolary exchange was followed was followed on January 16 of this year by a visit to Ratzinger, at his Vatican hermitage, by Rabbi Folger, Darmstadt rabbi Josh Ahrens, and Saxony rabbi Zsolt Balla, member of the board of trustees of the conference of Orthodox rabbis of Germany.

“It was an intense conversation that lasted an hour,” Folger comments in the preface to the book. “In him I found a very genial and profound thinker who is repulsed by anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism in all its forms.”

And yet the questions discussed by the pope emeritus and the rabbis were not of little account. They have always been among the most controversial in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity: the messiah, the promised land, the covenant, worship, the commandments.

Ratzinger had discussed these in depth in a previous text of his, sent in 2017 to Swiss cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Vatican commission for dialogue with Judaism, and published the following year in the international theological magazine “Communio” in its editions in GermanFrench, and English (this last with the entire text downloadable) and finally, in Italian, at the beginning of 2019, in the “Rivista di Vita Spirituale.”

And in its turn this text by Ratzinger – entitled “Grace and call without misgiving. Observations on the treatise ‘De Iudaeis’” – followed a document published in December of 2015 by the Vatican commission headed by Cardinal Koch, at the 50th anniversary of the declaration “Nostra Aetate” of Vatican Council II.

This document, entitled “The gifts and call of God are irrevocable,” rejected first of all, on the Catholic side, the so-called “theory of replacement,” according to which Israel, for having refused to recognize Jesus Christ as messiah, ceased to be the bearer of the promises of God, in this “replacement” by the Church.

Moreover, it decisively maintained that between God and the people of Israel there endures a “covenant never revoked.”

So then, in Ratzinger’s judgment “both of these statements are fundamentally correct, in many aspects, but they are imprecise and must be critically, further developed.”

And it is to precisely this development that his entire text of 2017 is dedicated.

Which immediately received, after its publication in the summer of 2018, a storm of criticism on the Catholic side, especially from German-speaking theologians who saw in it “a danger for Catholic-Jewish dialogue” and even “the foundation for a new anti-Semitism.”

Ratzinger replied to one of his critics, Wuppertal theologian Michael Böhnke, in the magazine “Herder Korrespondenz” of December 2018.

At the same time, however, on account of that same text of his Ratzinger elicited interest and appreciation in the Jewish camp, which was expressed by, among others, Rabbi Folger in a commentary published in “Jüdische Allgemeine” on July 16 2018, with the interrogative title “Danger for dialogue?”

It is precisely in response to this commentary that Ratzinger wrote to Rabbi Folger the letter that has now been made public.

The book edited by Elio Guerriero – for twenty years the director of the Italian edition of “Communio” and author of an acclaimed biography of Benedict XVI that has been translated into many languages – collects this sequence of letters and documents, among which there is also a place of great prominence, on the Jewish side, for the 2016 declaration entitled “Between Jerusalem and Rome,” undersigned by three of the most important religious Jewish organizations: the conference of European rabbis, the rabbinical council of America, and the chief rabbinate of the state of Israel.

But it should suffice here to cite the most evocative passages of Ratzinger’s letter of August 2018. Starting with that phrase which was greeted by Folger and both other rabbis with warm approval and has been printed with great emphasis on the back cover of the book:

“By human reckoning this dialogue will never lead to the unity of the two interpretations within the current history. This unity is reserved to God at the end of time.”

Regarding the messianic hope of Israel, Ratzinger writes:

“I have sought to grasp ‘ex novo’ the entirety of the messianic promises in their multiformity and thus to understand the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ of the hope in their intimate interpenetration. The form of messianic expectation that is based on the figure of David remains valid, but is limited in its meaning. The decisive form of hope for me is Moses, of whom Scripture says that he spoke face to face with the Lord, like a friend. Jesus of Nazareth appears to us Christians as the central figure of hope, because he stands on a first-name basis with God. From this new vision the time of the Church no longer appears as the time of a world definitively redeemed, but rather the time of the Church is for us Christians that which for Israel the forty years in the desert were.”

As for the promised land, Ratzinger writes that “the State of Israel as such cannot be considered theologically as the fulfillment of the promise of territory. In itself it is a secular state,” which however “has entirely legitimately religious foundations.” Therefore “I maintain that in the formation of the State of Israel one can recognize in a mysterious way the fidelity of God to Israel.”

Finally, as for the commandments and worship, Ratzinger writes that “over the entire theme from the beginning of the modern era there extends the shadow of the anti-Jewish thought of Luther… which has generated a pseudo-religious ‘Marcionism’ that has not yet been brought truly into discussion. I maintain that precisely on this point there are present important possibilities for a renewed dialogue with Judaism.”

In the letter to Rabbi Folger, Ratzinger does not return to the question of the salvation of the Jews in God’s plan. But he did so in his text of 2017, particularly in this passage:

“Not only does Saint Paul write that ‘all Israel must be saved,’ but the Revelation of Saint John also sees two groups of the saved: the 144 thousand of the 12 tribes of Israel, and beside these ‘an immense multitude that no one could count,’ as a representation of those saved among the pagans. From the point of view of the New Testament tradition, this perspective is not a reality that will simply take place at the end, after many millennia. It is instead something that in some way is always present.”

Present like the two Paschas celebrated this year during the same days and with the respective “interpretations” both by the “12 tribes of Israel” and by the “multitude” of believers in Jesus of Nazareth. In the hope of that unity “reserved to God at the end of time.”Condividi:

  •  24 aprile 2019


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I WAS ON A PRIVATE RETREAT DURING Holy Week AS IS MY CUSTOM AND HENCE I DID NOT POST ON ABYSSUM. I TRUST THAT YOUR CELEBRATION OF THE PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD Jesus Christ BROUGHT YOU AN ABUNDANCE OF HIS LOVE AND GRACE. I COULD NOT DECIDE ON A BETTER POST FOR THIS FIRST DAY OF THE EASTER SEASON THAN THIS EXCERPT FROM THE WRITING OF THAT GREAT CATHOLIC AUTHOR, ROMANO GUARDINI. TRULY, THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD IS THE TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AND IN OUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES.

Between Time and Eternity

Romano Guardini

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019

The days between Christ’s Resurrection and his return to the Father are full of mystery. If we accept them, as we should, not as a legend, but as a vital part of our faith, then we must ask what they mean in the life of the Lord, and what their significance in our own Christian existence.

These are the days between time and eternity. The Lord is still on earth, but his feet are already detached, prepared to depart. Before him unfold the reaches of everlasting light, but he still pauses here in transitoriness.

In the New Testament there are two figures of Jesus; one “the carpenter’s son.” (Matt. 13:55) It is he who stands in the midst of earthly events, who toils, struggles, submits to his destiny. He has his own personal characteristics – mysterious and inexplicable, certainly – and yet so unmistakably his that we almost hear the tone of his voice, see the accompanying gesture. In the main, it is the Gospels that portray this Son of Man. (See the Epistles and Revelation.)

The other “nature” of Jesus is centered in eternity. Here all earthly limitations have fallen away. He is free, divinely free, Lord and Ruler. Nothing transitory, nothing accidental remains; everything is essence. “Jesus of Nazareth” has become “Christ our Lord,” the eternal one whose figure St. John describes as it was revealed to him on the Island of Patmos: “One like to a son of man, clothed with a garment reaching to the ankles, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. But his head and his hair were white as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire; his feet were like fine brass, as in a glowing furnace, and his voice like the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars. And out of his mouth came forth a sharp two-edged sword; and his countenance was like the sun shining in its power.”

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, and he who lives; I was dead, and behold, I am living forevermore; and I have the keys of death and of hell.’ ”

St. Paul also describes him in the Epistle to the Colossians when he speaks of him: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. . . .For it has pleased God the Father that in him all his fullness should dwell, and that through him he should reconcile to himself all things, whether on the earth or in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Col. 1:15–20)

*

Here all concrete detail falls away. Not one familiar trait remains; hardly a human feature. Everything is strange and disproportionate. Is it the same Jesus who walked on earth?. . .

It might be asked: Why this mysterious lingering on earth after the Resurrection? Why didn’t the Lord return home directly?

What was happening during those forty days? Let us for a moment suppose that the Resurrection and the period afterwards had been only offshoots of morbid religious experience, legend or myth – what would those days have looked like?

Doubtless, they would have been filled with demonstrations of the liberated one’s power; the hunted one, now omnipotent, would have shattered his enemies; he would have blazed from temple altars, would have covered his followers with honors, and in these and other ways, have fulfilled the longings of the oppressed.

He would also have initiated the disciples into the wonderful mysteries of heaven, would have revealed the future, the beginning and end of all things. But nothing of all this occurs. No mysteries are revealed; no one is initiated into the secrets of the unknown. Not one miracle, save that of Christ’s own transfigured existence and the wonderful fish-catch, which is only a repetition of an earlier event.

What does happen? Something completely unspectacular, exquisitely still: the past is confirmed. The reality of the life that has been crosses over into eternity. These days are the period of that transition. And we need them for our faith; particularly when we evoke the great images of the eternal Christ throning at his Father’s right, coming upon the clouds to judge the living and the dead, ruling the Church and the souls of the faithful growing from the depths of God-summoned humanity “to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)

Such images place us in danger of losing the earthly figure of the Lord. This must not happen. Everything depends on the eternal Christ’s remaining also Jesus of Nazareth, who walks among us until the day when all things will be enfolded in eternity; on the blending of borderless spirit with the here and thus and then of the process of salvation.

In the Christ of the Apocalypse one vision holds this fast: the Lamb standing “as if slain” but alive. (Apoc. 5:6; 1:18) Earthly destiny entered into eternity. Once and forever, death has become lasting life.

But there is a danger that this truth will dangle in space, enigmatic as a rune on an ancient stone. This period of transition deciphers the rune, gives us the key to the parable: All that has been remains in eternal form. Every word Jesus ever spoke, every event during his lifetime is fixed in unchanging reality, then and now and forever. He who is seated on the throne contains the past transfigured to eternal present. – From “The Lord”

*Image: Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Jan van Eyck, c. 1430 [Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent]. This is the center panel of the Ghent Altarpiece. Top left and anti-clockwise: the male martyrs, the pagan writers and Jewish prophets, the male saints, and the female martyrs.


© 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.L

Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini

Fr. Romano Guardini (1885 – 1968), author and academic, was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in 20th-century. This essay is adapted from his most famous book, The Lord. He was a mentor to such prominent theologians as Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger.

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CRITICAL INFORMATION CONCERNING “BRAIN DEATH” AND ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION

For over forty years there has been a deadly code of silence pertaining to “brain death.” Behind closed doors a controversy raged. Many of those in the medical field opposed this reinvention of death. The controversy continues…

“Brain death” was invented for the sole purpose of organ transplantation, living human medical experimentation and a means in which measures to sustain life could be legally withdrawn. It was the first legal form of euthanasia in the US. This deadly code of silence has been broken.

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Judge rules Jahi McMath may not be dead

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Charlie Gard in a system of death-July 12, 2017

Charlie Gard is almost one year old. Charlie has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). This condition is rare; however, Charlie’s parents love him and wish to protect his life. Charlie’s doctors have preserved Charlie’s life. Charlie’s brain and muscles have been affected. Read Dr. Byrne’s article on renewamerica.com in full here

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Patient Advocacy Association Announces Medical Malpractice Conference October 17-19, 2016

Dr. Byrne appears on Mic’d Up on Church Militant website on May 27, 2015

Dr. Byrne to speak at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Brentwood on October 8, 2013 Click for more details

Dr. Byrne appearing in Da Tech Guy Blog on subject of Brain Death

Do you really want to be an organ donor?
By Paul A. Byrne, MD

Bioethics experts challenge the ‘Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (2006)’ – 4-14-09
By Paul A. Byrne, MD

Final Exit – Euthanasia in America – 3-29-09
Discussion on euthanasia in America hopefully with Dr. Paul Byrne and Ron Panzer of Hospice Patient’s
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Parents Accuse Hospital of Killing Son to Harvest Organs
By Kathleen Gilbert

PITTSBURGH, PA, March 5, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Ohio couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing doctors of removing a breathing tube from their 18-year-old son, who had suffered a brain injury while skiing, in order to harvest his organs.

Michael and Teresa Jacobs of Bellevue, Ohio, parents of Gregory Jacobs, maintain that their son’s death was caused, not by his injury, but by doctors removing his breathing tube and administering unspecified medication in preparation for organ removal.

The charges were filed against Pittsburgh’s Hamot Medical Center doctors and a representative of the Center For Organ Recovery and Education (CORE).

The parents also say the CORE representative directed that Jacobs’ organs be removed in the absence of a valid consent.

“But for the intentional trauma or asphyxiation of Gregory Jacobs, he would have lived, or, at the very least, his life would have been prolonged,” says the lawsuit. “Gregory was alive before defendants started surgery and suffocated him in order to harvest his organs,” which included his heart, liver and kidneys.

The suit maintains that Jacobs “experienced neither a cessation of cardiac activity nor a cessation of brain activities when surgeons began the procedures for removing his vital organs.”

The parents filed the suit in the U. S. District Court in Pittsburgh seeking more than $5 million for their son’s pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

The lawsuit comes only weeks after neurologist Dr. Cicero Coimbra told a Rome “brain death” conference that, “Diagnostic protocols for brain death actually induce death in patients who could recover to normal life by receiving timely and scientifically based therapies.” 

Coimbra referred to the so-called “apnea test,” whereby living patients who cannot breathe on their own have their ventilator removed, and are deemed “brain dead” if after ten minutes patients do not resume breathing. The problem with the test, said Coimbra, is that otherwise treatable patients sustain irreversible brain damage by oxygen deprivation during that ten minutes.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

“Brain Death” Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09022504.html

“Brain Death” as Criteria for Organ Donation is a “Deception”: Bereaved Mother
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09022306.html

“Brain Death” is Life, Not Death: Neurologists, Philosophers, Neonatologists, Jurists, and Bioethicists Unanimous at Conference
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021608.html

Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from “Brain Dead” Patients Tantamount to Murder
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021608.html

New England Journal of Medicine: ‘Brain Death’ is not Death – Organ Donors are Alive
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08081406.html

Pro-Life Conference on “Brain Death” Criteria Will Have Uphill Climb to Sway Entrenched Vatican Position
By Hilary White – Rome correspondent

ROME, February 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If a patient is able to process oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream, maintain a normal body temperature, digest food and expel waste, grow to normal adult size from the age of four to twenty, and even carry a child to term, can he or she be considered dead? Can a person who is “dead” wake up and go on later to finish a university degree? Can a corpse get out of bed, go home and go fishing? Can he get married and have children?

These are among the real-life stories of patients declared “brain dead” presented by medical experts at the “Signs of Life” conference on “brain death” criteria held near the Vatican in Rome last week. Ten speakers, who are among the world’s most eminent in their fields, sounded a ringing rebuke to the continued support among medical professionals and ethicists for “brain death” as an accepted criterion for organ removal.

Dr. Paul Byrne, the conference organizer, told LifeSiteNews.com he was delighted with the success of the conference, that he hopes will bring the message that “brain death is not death” inside the walls of the Vatican where support for “brain death” criteria is still strong.

Dr. Byrne, a neonatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo, compared the struggle against “brain death” criteria with another battle: “I’m sure that slavery was at one time well-accepted in the United States, and that people saw big benefits to slavery. And yes, it was difficult to go away from that but it was absolutely essential.”

“Slavery was doing evil things to persons. This issue of ‘brain death’ was invented to get beating hearts for transplantation. And there is no way that this can go on. It must get stopped.”

Participants came from all over the world to attend the Signs of Life conference, with speakers from Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Germany, Poland, the US, Brazil and Italy. The conference hall was packed to standing-room only with physicians, clergy, students, journalists, and academics. Clergy included two senior officials of the Vatican curia: Francis Cardinal Arinze, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sergio Cardinal Sebastiani, the President Emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Two senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were also present. Conference organizers told LifeSiteNews.com that they had expected no more than a hundred to attend and were surprised but very pleased with the crowd of over 170 for the one-day event.

Conflicting voices on “brain death” criteria are still battling in the Church. In February 2005, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) refused to publish the findings of its own conference after the speakers roundly denounced “brain death” as a cynical invention to further the monetary interests of organ transplanters. The speakers said that using “brain death” for the purpose of organ harvesting results in the death of helpless patients. The PAS convened a second conference in 2007 with different speakers who, with only two dissenting, supported “brain death” for organ transplants. Papers from the 2005 conference that opposed “brain death” were excluded without explanation to their authors.

During a Vatican-sponsored conference last November on organ transplantation, at which not a single speaker raised their voice against “brain death,” Pope Benedict XVI warned in an address that “the removal of organs is allowed only in the presence of his actual death.” But on the Monday following the Friday organ transplant conference, only the PAS conference report in favor of “brain death” was posted to the Vatican website and not the Pope’s warning.

Dr. Byrne said that a major function of the Signs of Life conference was “to support Pope Benedict,” whose address in November, he said, had started to turn the Church against “brain death.”

“It’s here to demonstrate clearly that ‘brain death’ never was true death. What we’re trying to do is come back to the truth and protect and preserve the life that comes from God.

“When there are attacks on life, then we, as physicians, defend it and that is what this conference is for.”

The Signs of Life conference, sponsored privately by various pro-life organizations, including Human Life International, the Northwest Ohio Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, American Life League and the Italian organization Associazione Famiglia Domani, stood in opposition to the second PAS conference, which was titled, “The Signs of Death.”

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from “Brain Dead” Patients Tantamount to Murder
Read Story (Click here)

Pro-Life Conference on “Brain Death” Criteria Will Have Uphill Climb to Sway Entrenched Vatican Position
Read Story (Click here)

Conference may Begin to Sway Vatican Opinion Against Brain Death: Eminent Philosopher
Read Story (Click Here)
 

“Brain Death” is Life, Not Death: Neurologists, Philosophers, Neonatologists, Jurists, and Bioethicists Unanimous at Conference
By Hilary White – Rome correspondent

ROME, February 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If a patient is able to process oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream, maintain a normal body temperature, digest food and expel waste, grow to normal adult size from the age of four to twenty, and even carry a child to term, can he or she be considered dead? Can a person who is “dead” wake up and go on later to finish a university degree? Can a corpse get out of bed, go home and go fishing? Can he get married and have children?

These are among the real-life stories of patients declared “brain dead” presented by medical experts at the “Signs of Life” conference on “brain death” criteria held near the Vatican in Rome last week. Ten speakers, who are among the world’s most eminent in their fields, sounded a ringing rebuke to the continued support among medical professionals and ethicists for “brain death” as an accepted criterion for organ removal.

drbryne


Dr. Paul Byrne, the conference organizer, told LifeSiteNews.com he was delighted with the success of the conference, that he hopes will bring the message that “brain death is not death” inside the walls of the Vatican where support for “brain death” criteria is still strong.

Dr. Byrne, a neonatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo, compared the struggle against “brain death” criteria with another battle: “I’m sure that slavery was at one time well-accepted in the United States, and that people saw big benefits to slavery. And yes, it was difficult to go away from that but it was absolutely essential.”

“Slavery was doing evil things to persons. This issue of ‘brain death’ was invented to get beating hearts for transplantation. And there is no way that this can go on. It must get stopped.”

Participants came from all over the world to attend the Signs of Life conference, with speakers from Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Germany, Poland, the US, Brazil and Italy. The conference hall was packed to standing-room only with physicians, clergy, students, journalists, and academics. Clergy included two senior officials of the Vatican curia: Francis Cardinal Arinze, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sergio Cardinal Sebastiani, the President Emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Two senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were also present. Conference organizers told LifeSiteNews.com that they had expected no more than a hundred to attend and were surprised but very pleased with the crowd of over 170 for the one-day event.

Conflicting voices on “brain death” criteria are still battling in the Church. In February 2005, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) refused to publish the findings of its own conference after the speakers roundly denounced “brain death” as a cynical invention to further the monetary interests of organ transplanters. The speakers said that using “brain death” for the purpose of organ harvesting results in the death of helpless patients. The PAS convened a second conference in 2007 with different speakers who, with only two dissenting, supported “brain death” for organ transplants. Papers from the 2005 conference that opposed “brain death” were excluded without explanation to their authors.

cardinal


During a Vatican-sponsored conference last November on organ transplantation, at which not a single speaker raised their voice against “brain death,” Pope Benedict XVI warned in an address that “the removal of organs is allowed only in the presence of his actual death.” But on the Monday following the Friday organ transplant conference, only the PAS conference report in favor of “brain death” was posted to the Vatican website and not the Pope’s warning.

Dr. Byrne said that a major function of the Signs of Life conference was “to support Pope Benedict,” whose address in November, he said, had started to turn the Church against “brain death.”

“It’s here to demonstrate clearly that ‘brain death’ never was true death. What we’re trying to do is come back to the truth and protect and preserve the life that comes from God.

“When there are attacks on life, then we, as physicians, defend it and that is what this conference is for.”

The Signs of Life conference, sponsored privately by various pro-life organizations, including Human Life International, the Northwest Ohio Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, American Life League and the Italian organization Associazione Famiglia Domani, stood in opposition to the second PAS conference, which was titled, “The Signs of Death.”

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from “Brain Dead” Patients Tantamount to Murder
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021608.html

Pro-Life Conference on “Brain Death” Criteria Will Have Uphill Climb to Sway Entrenched Vatican Position
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021607.html

Conference may Begin to Sway Vatican Opinion Against Brain Death: Eminent Philosopher
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09022404.html 

Conference may Begin to Sway Vatican Opinion Against Brain Death: Eminent Philosopher
By Hilary White

ROME, February 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While he said that he could not predict the future, Professor Josef Seifert told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) on Friday that a conference on “brain death” criteria last week had possibly opened a door to moving opinion in the Vatican away from support for the use of the criteria for organ transplants.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com the day after the conference, Professor Seifert said, “I’m not a prophet. On the other hand, if one believes in the Catholic Church as I do, then one must assume that earlier or later the truth will triumph and that the Church will not teach something false on central issues of faith or morals. And if that is so, and if what we say is true, I trust that it will be formulated.”

Professor Seifert is a philosopher and the rector of the International Academy for Philosophy of Liechtenstein and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Life and was a speaker at the ‘Signs of Life’ conference held last week near the Vatican.

The conference was organized by Human Life International (HLI) and the American Life League (ALL), as well as the Italian organization Associazione Famiglia Domani and other groups, to address the growing opinion in academia, medicine and even within the Church that “brain death” is a legitimate diagnosis. The conference speakers, including eminent neurologists, jurors, philosophers and bioethicists, were united in their denunciation of the “brain death” criteria as a tool in the determination of death.

Speaking at the conference on the original formulation of the so-called 1968 Harvard Criteria that created “brain death,” Professor Seifert told participants, “We look in vain for any argument for this unheard of change of determining death … except for two pragmatic reasons for introducing it, which have nothing to do at all with the question of whether a patient is dead but only deal with why it is practically useful to consider or define him to be dead.”

The two “pragmatic reasons” cited by the Harvard Report, he said, were “the wish to obtain organs for implantation and to have a criterion for switching off ventilators in ICUs.” He said these must be rejected because they “possess absolutely no theoretical or scientific value to determine death.” This conclusion was amply supported by clinical neurologists, and neurocardiologists, who told participants that a patient who is declared “brain dead” by the standard criteria, is, quite simply, still alive.

To LSN Professor Seifert responded to comments made in September 2008 by Francesco D’Agostino, professor of the philosophy of law and president emeritus of the Italian bioethics committee, that opposition to the “brain death” criteria in the Church is “strictly in the minority.” A 2006 document, entitled “Why the Concept of Brain Death Is Valid as a Definition of Death,” was signed by Cardinal Georges Cottier, then theologian to the papal household; Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, at the time president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan; and Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the then president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Professor Seifert, however, said that he did not agree with the assertion that there is a universal consensus in the Church supporting brain death. He pointed to the act in 2005 by Pope John Paul II in convening a conference to discuss “brain death” as evidence that the subject is far from closed at the Vatican. Indeed, continued interest was signaled last week by the presence at the Signs of Life conference of Cardinals Arinze and Sebastiani and two representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“There’s no official church teaching at all against the conclusion that all the speakers reached yesterday that the brain death definition is not correct,” he said.

He also said, however, that the matter of whether there is a universal consensus among medical professionals on “brain death” is not a central concern for the Church. “For the Magisterium of the Church it’s a question of whether it’s a fact or not.”

Professor Seifert also noted the address by Pope Benedict XVI in November to the participants at a Vatican sponsored conference on organ transplants in which he did not use the term “brain death” but pointedly referred only to “actual death.”

The Pope said that “the main criterion” must be “respect for the life of the donor so that the removal of organs is allowed only in the presence of his actual death,” a strong indicator that he does not accept the concept of “brain death” as indicating actual death, according to Seifert.

Professor Seifert said, “One could hope that this speech prepares the way for formulating this even more clearly with reference to brain death. Many people like the organizer, Dr. [Paul] Byrne, who organized the conference, interprets this statement in this way. Now it may be wishful thinking, but it may also be correct.”

The idea that there is a majority opinion among theological and ethics experts, including the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in the Church in favor of “brain death” is irrelevant, he said, in the search for the truth.

“The same happened in the case of Humanae Vitae. There was a minority and a majority and the majority report said you should admit the Pill and contraception. But the Pope followed the minority report. A majority opinion is never what dominates and what should determine Church teaching is rather the truth. In the light of reason and also of Revelation, and not simply the opinion of a majority of people.”

“Particularly not the majority of scientists,” he added, “who are very fallible individuals.”

“Normally there is much more common sense in simple people than in academicians and professors who all have their theories. It’s very rare, I think, to have academicians to have the same simple pursuit of truth than among non-academicians.”

He warned that the “brain death” theory has the characteristics of an ideology.

“It’s clear that [transplantation] is a million or billion dollar business and it is clear that also it is useful for many patients.” He said that motives such as fame for transplant doctors and researchers and money are among the “vested interests that could obscure the truth.”

“For that reason, I think, if there’s a majority in favor, it doesn’t say much.”

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Pope Warns Organ Transplant Conference of Abuses of Death Criteria
Click Here to Read
 

“Brain Death” as Criteria for Organ Donation is a “Deception”: Bereaved Mother
By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, February 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bernice Jones came to Rome last week to tell the world that doctors killed her son by removing his organs. “Brain death is not death” and “organ donation is very deceptive,” the bereaved mother told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview on Thursday.

Mrs. Jones was attending an international conference on the dangers of so-called “brain death” criteria and related her experience of losing her son, Brandon, who was declared “brain dead” and used as an organ donor.

“Families are led to believe that their loved ones are dead,” Jones told LSN, “but in fact they are alive. You must be alive to be a vital organ donor.” Families, she said, are being deceived by doctors and hospital administrators, “by everyone who is involved in organ transplantation.” The declaration of brain death “is a deception, a violent deception, that your loved one is dead.”

Jones described what she characterized as a betrayal of principle by medical professionals at a hospital in their home state of Washington, whose priority she argued is no longer the care of the patient at hand but the procurement of organs for transplants. Although she declined to name the hospital, she said, “It happens at all hospitals.”

Nine years ago, Mrs. Jones’s son suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the head and was declared “brain dead” upon arrival at the hospital. He was immediately prepared for the removal of his organs.

Mrs. Jones said, “While my family and I thought that our son was being treated for his well-being, to preserve and protect his life, he was not, he was being treated to be an organ donor.”

“His vital organs were being procured not for his benefit but to benefit someone else.”

24 hours after the family was told Brandon was dead, Mrs. Jones had an intuition that her son was still alive. Later investigation revealed that the hospital had told the family her son was “brain dead” but, without the family’s knowledge, had kept him alive on a respirator for 20 hours while flooding his body with fluids and drugs in preparation for what his mother described as a live “dissection” that brought about his death.

Legal consent, she said, was obtained while the family was in deep shock over the accident. Jones’s husband signed the consent forms over her objections and the family, still in shock, was told to go home. During their time at the hospital, the family was introduced to a woman whom doctors referred to as an “organ procurement agent.” This woman used what Mrs. Jones described as a standard “script,” speaking soothingly to the family about Brandon’s altruism and desire to help others, to induce them to sign the consent forms, copies of which were not given to the family.

Mrs. Jones was later to learn that these procedures are standard for organ retrieval. “All of the organ donor families I have spoken to received the same script,” she said. Organ procurement officials approach the family when they are at their most vulnerable, she said. “It’s always when you’re not mentally, emotionally capable” of making an informed decision.

Prior to obtaining his organs, Brandon was given paralysing drugs to keep him from moving. He was anesthetised during the removal process. Mrs. Jones said that the diagnosis of brain death is a sham. “If he is supposed to be dead, why does he need paralysing drugs to keep him from moving? Why does he need anesthesia?”

Brandon Jones was given, without his family’s consent, what is called an “apnea test” by doctors, to determine brain death. Doctors remove the ventilator for two minutes from a patient who requires assistance breathing. The heart rate decreases and after two minutes without oxygen, “brain death” is declared.

The apnea test as a diagnostic tool was specifically denounced at the conference as unethical by Dr. Cicero Coimbra, a neurologist from Sao Paolo, Brazil. The test, he said, which cuts off oxygen to the brain, will bring about severe, irreversible brain damage in patients who, with proper care, would otherwise have had a good chance of survival.

Mrs. Jones believes doctors who are motivated by the desire to obtain organs use the apnea test knowing that it will induce severe brain damage while the body is prepared for organ removal.

Despite the harm it does, the apnea test, she said, is administered without the family’s consent. “We were in with our son, and they told us to leave the room, that they had to perform a test. They did not ask permission to do this.”

“If a family was made aware of what an apnea test consists of, no family member would ever consent to this.”

She described what happened to her son: “For two minutes they took the ventilator away from him. They wait for the pulse to go down but the heart continues to beat. Then they put the ventilator back on. Now, in this two-minute timeframe, they pronounce the patient dead.

“Before they put them back on the ventilator they pronounce the patient dead. It’s a prerequisite to being able to declare a legal but fictional death.” This “death” is what she has described as a “convenience death, invented to schedule and regulate the actual time of real death.”

Brandon died, she claimed, while his organs, including his still-beating heart, were removed in surgery. “Our son had been dissected alive and in doing so, killed.”

Mrs. Jones is the founder of an organization of parents and families who have undergone this experience and which is dedicated to bringing to the public eye the danger of the “brain death” criteria. The Life Guardian Foundation is dedicated to educating the public that “life of the human person is a gift.”

The group calls it “irreverent” to use terms such as “brain dead,” “vegetative state,” “terminal condition,” and “imminent danger of death.” “Such designations have been proposed and are actively used for the sole purpose of demeaning and shortening life, as well as to hasten the death of a human person.”

Mrs. Jones said that in her research after her son’s death that “there is no scientific validation for ‘brain death’. Absolutely none, whatsoever.”

Vatican in “Firestorm” over Brain Death Criteria for Organ Transplants
By Hilary White

ROME, November 24, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com ) – Dispute within the Vatican on the approval of so-called “brain death” criteria for organ transplants remains sharp, according to a senior Vatican correspondent. Sandro Magister, a leading Italian journalist and expert on the Vatican, wrote this week of the internal dispute over support and opposition to “brain death” criteria, the definition of death that allows vital organs to be removed from patients while their hearts are still beating.

Magister points out that in September this year, L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, published on its front page a long article by the philosopher Lucetta Scaraffia. Scaraffia, who is the vice-president of the Italian Association for Science and Life and a member of the Italian National Committee on Bio-Ethics, called into question the Vatican’s approval of “brain death” criteria for organ transplants.

That article, said Magister, “raised a firestorm” of debate within the Vatican, coming as it did in the immediate lead-up to a generously financed international conference on organ transplants, sponsored in part by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV). That sponsorship had outraged pro-life advocates around the world who said that, given the problems surrounding organ transplantation, the PAV had no business promoting it. Judie Brown, a member of the PAV and the head of American Life League, had written to Academy head Archbishop Fisichella asking that the conference be postponed or cancelled altogether.

Nevertheless, Magister said, the “predominant approach” towards organ transplantation by the Vatican has been “agreement with the practice of transplanting organs after the confirmation of brain death.” It was perhaps with this “agreement” in mind that Scaraffia wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that a declaration of “brain death: cannot be considered the end of life in light of new scientific research.”

The unease of the pro-life movement with “brain death” was sustained by Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the transplant conference, in which he pointedly insisted that organ donation must remain “a gift” of the donor and that organs cannot be taken from vulnerable persons without their consent.

“The main criterion,” the Pope said, must be “respect for the life of the donor so that the removal of organs is allowed only in the presence of his actual death.”

The Pope is likely to have been referring to the L’Osservatore Romano article when he told the Transplant Conference, “Science, in recent years has made further progress in the determination of the death of a patient.” In the question of determination of death, the Pope cautioned, “there must not be the slightest suspicion of arbitrariness. Where certainty cannot be achieved, the principle of precaution must prevail.”

At the same time, however, Magister says that “pressure was applied” to Pope Benedict to attempt to force him to confirm “brain death” as a valid criterion. Magister pointed out, as evidence of the dispute within the Vatican, that Bishop Marcélo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), immediately following the Pope’s address hastened to post to the Vatican website the findings of a group of scholars at a 2006 conference of the PAS who supported “brain death” criteria.

Bishop Sorando did not also post the suppressed findings of the 2005 conference on the same topic where a majority of participants opposed ‘brain death’ as a true definition of death. There was a more selective invitation to pro-organ transplant scholars for the 2006 conference.

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

The Demise of “Brain Death”: Commentary by Dr. Paul A. Byrne, M.D.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08091803.html

Pro-Life Conference on “Brain Death” Criteria Will Have Uphill Climb to Sway Entrenched Vatican Position
By Hilary White

ROME, February 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An conference set to take place in Rome this week on “brain death” seeks to clarify the position of the Catholic Church on the removal of vital organs from patients.

In November 2008, a high-profile conference on organ transplants, held in one of Rome’s most prominent conference halls, steps away from St. Peter’s Basilica, and sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, caused an uproar when it declined to address the ethical problems of “brain death” criteria.

Hundreds of letters and appeals to the Pontifical Academy for Life from pro-life advocates around the world went un-answered and the conference went ahead with no mention of any of the controversy surrounding the use of these and other criteria that allow the removal of organs from living patients.

Pope Benedict XVI, however, in his address to the conference, warned that organ transplantation can be a source of abuses of “human dignity.”
 
“The main criterion,” the Pope said, must be “respect for the life of the donor so that the removal of organs is allowed only in the presence of his actual death.”

Immediately following publication of the Pope’s address, however, the Vatican website posted articles defending the use of brain death criteria in determining death for purposes of organ transplants.

In early September, as news of the organ donor conference was starting to make the rounds of the pro-life community, L’Osservatore Romano broke ranks and published an article by Lucetta Scaraffia, a professor of contemporary history at the Rome university La Sapienza, outlining the dangers of the brain death criteria.

In response, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, backpedalled away from the position taken in the article, saying it is “not an act of the Church’s magisterium, nor a document of a pontifical organism,” and that the reflections expressed in it “are to be attributed to the author of the text, and are not binding for the Holy See.”

This week’s conference has a large task ahead in convincing the Vatican to shift direction in its support of brain death criteria. In 1985, a statement from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences upheld the use of “irreversible coma” as a legitimate criterion for a definition of death for organ removal. This was reiterated in 1989 with another statement from the same academy, reinforced with a speech by John Paul II. John Paul II reinforced this position in an address to a world congress of the Transplantation Society, on August 29, 2000.

Sandro Magister, a reporter on Vatican affairs wrote in September, “In this way, the Catholic Church in fact legitimated the removal of organs as universally practiced today on people at the end of life because of illness or injury: with the donor defined as dead after an ‘irreversible coma”‘ has been verified, even if he is still breathing and his heart is beating.”

Magister quoted Francesco D’Agostino, a professor of the philosophy of law and president emeritus of the Italian bioethics committee, and a member of the “ecclesial camp,” saying, “Lucetta Scaraffia’s thesis is present in the scientific realm, but it is distinctly in the minority.”

Dr. Paul Byrne is one of the organisers of this week’s conference, provided LifeSiteNews.com with an advance copy of his presentation. He intends to argue the case that the use of “brain death” criteria results in the removal of organs from living patients, and is tantamount to murder. (To find out more about his presentation see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021608.html)

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Pope Warns Organ Transplant Conference of Abuses of Death Criteria

Exclusive: Sources Reveal Internal Uproar over Vatican Conference Promoting Organ Donation
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08090513.html 

Vatican Newspaper: Brain Death and thus Organ Donation Must be Reconsidered
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08090310.html 

Pope Warns Organ Transplant Conference of Abuses of Death Criteria
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08110706.html A Must See:
Interview with Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death and Organ Transplantation

The Face of Pro-Life: Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death and Organ Transplants
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SHAME ON THE CRITICS OF Pope Benedict FOR HIS RECENTLY PUBLISHED ESSAY

APRIL 15, 2019

Benedict’s Essay: The Voice of a True Father

JIM RUSSELL

CRISIS MAGAZINE

Why the uproar from some Catholic pundits regarding the recently released essay on the abuse crisis from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI?

I think it’s pretty simple—regardless of what else one thinks of Benedict (and most of the critics were never fans of his), he speaks and write with a voice that is truly paternal. The man has fully lived out his priesthood as “Father” and even in his nineties, he has a father’s care for the faithful. Benedict’s voice is a unique mix of theological clarity, precision, and paternal affection.

Many would rather ridicule and criticize his words instead of accepting them as they would from a loving father. But it’s precisely because of his unique voice that the critics are hard-pressed to dismiss him. Let’s take a brief look at his essay on the abuse crisis, originally published in German for a modest monthly Bavarian publication called “Klerusblatt” and addressed largely to fellow German clergy.

But first we need to keep in mind that Benedict is addressing these German clerics from his own lived experience and memory.  Benedict will conclude his essay focusing on a truly “interior” landscape that can provide a basis for a more practical nuts-and-bolts response of the Church to the abuse scandal.

In short, he’s a German theologian primarily looking at the issue as a theologian of his age and experience would be expected to do.

He lays out his thoughts in three major sections: he presents the “wider social context” of the scandal that is crucial to understanding it; he then examines the effects of this context on priestly formation and life; and then he presents some “perspectives for a proper response” to the issue by the Church.

In the first part, Benedict gives us a glimpse of how he personally encountered this context in concrete times and places as a member of the German clergy. Likely, given his audience, he presumes this will be of interest to his countrymen and brother priests.

So, while some have objected to some of his comments as seemingly out of place, in context they do make real sense—they are literally a part of his past, not just mere anecdote or speculation. We need to keep in mind that when Benedict talks about the “Sexual Revolution” he lived through that revolution in Europe, not the United States. In his country, it took shape as aggressive sex education took hold in German schools. He references another example of an Austrian sex-ed “suitcase” of resources that was prevalent in the late 1980s; he notes the influence of sex and porn films shown openly in German cinemas. He refers to a 1970 German billboard featuring a fully naked couple embracing.

For Benedict, the sexual license that overwhelmed culture arose largely from that 1968-era “revolution” that we in the United States definitely know all too well. But then Benedict references something that I for one had not properly considered or understood about this period of social upheaval. He mentions that the “physiognomy” of this era included the serious push to normalize and legalize pedophilia itself.

Readers, take note of that. It’s an important reminder that sex “experts” of the day sometimes did not stop at recommending the normalization of homosexuality and fornication as “healthy” human experiences, but that even pedophilia itself was being touted in similar fashion by some unapologetic voices of that time.

Then Benedict focuses on his experience as a theologian living through the absolute undoing of moral theology that took place in the same era. The move was from natural law and its moral absolutes to moral relativism and the “proportionalism” that became the darling of Catholic clergy and moral theologians of the 1960s and beyond. This compelled Pope John Paul II to defend the Church’s truth in his encyclical “Veritatis Splendor.” Moral theologians in Benedict’s sphere were determined to reject the existence of any absolute moral evil, and this further eroded the sense of morality among Catholics in general and even clergy in particular.

Benedict notes the perennial value of martyrdom and witness to the absolutes of both faith and morals. He lived through the attempt to weaken the role of the Church’s Magisterium as the final arbiter of such matters. In the face of this weakening Benedict calls us back to faith in God and to an awareness of our existence as “image of God.”

In the second part, Benedict illustrates how 1960s radicalism affected the priesthood and seminary formation. Tradition and traditional morality and theology all were readily jettisoned in seminaries that featured “homosexual cliques” which had a major impact on these environments. “Pedophilia” (a word which Benedict appears to use here as a catch-all for clergy sex abuse) arose as an issue of concern in the 1980s, which posed a problem as the newly constructed 1983 Code of Canon Law had not made an adequate provision for addressing such matters.

Benedict notes that Church justice emphasized “guarantorism,” in which the rights of the accused, not the victim or not even the good of the Faith itself, is held as the principal value. He suggests that canon law needs to provide a “double guarantee” that includes “legal protection of the good at stake.”

In the third part, he asserts that the experiment of coming up with a “new” kind of Church to solve these problems has actually been tried and failed. The real answer is only found in the Church founded by Christ, not re-made by us.

The landscape for a true solution will necessarily mean that we need a culture and society that includes God. “Absence of God” is what Benedict says ultimately brings about a society that begins to excuse even pedophilia. Clergy and laity often don’t like to speak about God.

In doing so, we must again re-centralize the Eucharist in the Church. Benedict says: “What is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Lastly, Benedict states we must rediscover the “Mystery of the Church” and once again profess to live as its “martyrs”—as real witnesses. To do so means that whatever sin and evil remain in our midst can not prevail over the “indestructible” Church founded by Jesus Christ, the “first and actual witness for God” and the first martyr.

Benedict’s message is clearly not intended as a magic-bullet solution for the abuse crisis. For others to criticize it for merely being what it really is—a loving word of encouragement from a spiritual father—is to miss the boat entirely on his intention and on the true value of what he has written. Even at his advanced age—or perhaps precisely because of it—his words provide a kind of consolation and encouragement that fathers are especially good at in challenging times. All is not lost. He knows we’ve been through a lot because he himself lived through it. But there is a way forward.

And some fundamental words of wisdom from a spiritual father who still loves us—remember God, and love Jesus in the Eucharist—could help us all heal a little bit faster.

Tagged as Clergy Sexual AbusePope Benedict XVISexual Revolution

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HERE IS AN ANALYSIS that will certainly lead to discussion, this of Ratzinger, seeing how distant it is from what is being said and done today at the top levels of the Church regarding the scandal of sexual abuse, from a perspective that is essentially judicial and that wobbles between the two poles of “zero tolerance” and due process. A due process that is entirely different from the one – “so-called” – evoked by Ratzinger, because it instead concerns the defendant’s rights of defense, the presumption of innocence until the definitive verdict and the proportionality of the punishment, and which it is helpful to gauge for how it is being employed today in regard to cardinals and archbishops implicated in abuse.

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 

12 apr 19

“Zero Tolerance” Farewell. But “Transparency” Is Still a Long Way Off

Apuron

by Sandro Magister

*

What the current leaders of the Church have not been capable of saying – before, during, and after the February 21-24 Vatican summit on sexual abuse committed by consecrated ministers – has been said and written by “pope emeritus” Benedict XVI in the “notes” that he made public on April 11, after having informed cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin and Pope Francis.

Joseph Ratzinger has gone to the the root of the scandal: the sexual revolution of ’68, the “collapse” of Catholic doctrine and morality between the 1960’s and 1980’s, the downfall of the distinction between good and evil and between truth and lies, the proliferation of “homosexual clubs” in the seminaries, the imposition of a “so-called due process” that rendered untouchable those who justified these novelties, including pedophilia itself, in the final analysis a departure from that God who is the Church’s raison d’être and the sense of direction of every man.

As a result, in Ratzinger’s judgment, the Church’s task today is to rediscover the courage to “speak of God” and to “prioritize” God over all, to return to believing that he is really present in the Eucharist instead of “downgrading it to a ceremonial gesture,” to look at the Church as full of weeds but also of good wheat, of saints, of martyrs, to be defended from the discredit of the Evil One, without deluding ourselves that we can make a better one one our own, entirely political, which “cannot represent any sort of hope.”

It is an analysis that will certainly lead to discussion, this of Ratzinger, seeing how distant it is from what is being said and done today at the top levels of the Church regarding the scandal of sexual abuse, from a perspective that is essentially judicial and that wobbles between the two poles of “zero tolerance” and due process.

A due process that is entirely different from the one – “so-called” – evoked by Ratzinger, because it instead concerns the defendant’s rights of defense, the presumption of innocence until the definitive verdict and the proportionality of the punishment, and which it is helpful to gauge for how it is being employed today in regard to cardinals and archbishops implicated in abuse.

Concentrating the analysis on this last point, here is what results.

*

Until last autumn the formula “zero tolerance” was one of the most recurrent in the words and writings of Pope Francis, to express how to oppose the sexual abuse of the clergy on underage victims.

But since then it has gone missing. Vanished from the final document of the synod on young people; vanished from the subsequent apostolic exhortation “Christus Vivit”; vanished from the speeches and documents of the summit on abuse held at the Vatican from February 21 to 24.

On the contrary, at the beginning of that summit Francis distributed to the participants 21 of his own handwritten “points of reflection” that didn’t agree at all with “zero tolerance.”

Point 14, for example, said:

“The principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven.”

And point 15:

“Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.”

The provisions adopted in these last two months against five cardinals and archbishops who ended up on trial for abuse committed or “covered up” fully confirm this change of stance.

There is not one provision that is the same as another. And only in one case did it consist of the convict’s reduction to the lay state, when instead, by virtue of “zero tolerance,” this should be the sanction to be imposed on all, including on those who committed only one act of abuse on a single victim many years ago.

*

The only one reduced to the lay state, as is known, has been ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. None, however, of the other four who were sanctioned before and after him.

Australian cardinal George Pell and French cardinal Philippe Barbarin, both sentenced by the secular courts of their respective countries and both awaiting an appeal process, received very different treatment in the ecclesiastical forum, more severe with Pell and more impartial with Barbarin, as Settimo Cielo has documented:

> With Pell and Barbarin the Pope Uses Two Weights and Two Measures

The pope appeared even more indulgent with Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, limiting himself to accepting on March 23 his resignation as archbishop of Santiago, Chile, the day after he was summoned to court for covering up abuse.

And still different from the preceding was the treatment of the former bishop of Agaña on the island of Guam, Anthony Sablan Apuron (in the photo), convicted in definitive form last February 7 with a sentence made known on April 4 by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith – to serve these three penalties: “the privation of office; the perpetual prohibition from dwelling, even temporarily, in the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Agaña; and the perpetual prohibition from using the insignia attached to the rank of Bishop.”

*

Since the island of Guam, in the Pacific, is a territory of the United States, Apuron is the first United States archbishop so far hit with a definitive canonical conviction for sexual abuse, six days before that February 13 on which McCarrick was laicized.

But that’s just it, unlike this last, Apuron was not reduced to the lay state, in spite of the fact that he was found guilty of  “crimes against the sixth commandment with minors.” He can still celebrate, albeit far from Guam and without wearing the episcopal insignia.

And this contrasts glaringly with the “zero tolerance” that is the guideline of the Catholic Church in the United States from the 2002 “Dallas Charter” onward, when the president of the episcopal conference was none other than that Wilton Gregory whom Pope Francis promoted as archbishop of Washington on the very day of the publication of the mild sentence against Apuron.

But how did it come to this epilogue?

In the first instance, the case of Apuron was adjudicated by a jury headed by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a canonist of illustrious renown, he too from the United States but very attentive to the guarantees to be ensured for the defendant, appointed to this role personally by Pope Francis.

This first trial concluded on March 16 2018 with a guilty verdict on the abuse of minors and with the removal of Apuron as archbishop of Guam.

Apuron nonetheless had recourse to an appeal. And at the Vatican a new canonical process began, this time headed by Francis himself, according to what was revealed at the press conference of last August 26, on the way back from Ireland:

“The archbishop of Guam appealed his sentence and I decided – because it was a very, very complex case – to make use of the right that I have, hear his appeal on my own, and not to send him to the appeal court that carries out its work with priests.  I took it up personally.  I set up a commission of canon lawyers to help me, and they told me that, in a short time, a month at most, they would offer a ‘recommendation’ so that I could make a judgement.  It is a complicated case on the one hand, but not difficult, because the evidence is extremely clear; from the standpoint of evidence, it is clear.  But I cannot pre-judge.  I am waiting for the report and then I will pass judgement.  I say that the evidence is clear because that is what led the court of the first instance to its verdict.”

That brings us to the definitive guilty verdict of February 7 of this year. Against which however Apuron continues to protest that he is innocent, the victim “of a pressure group that has planned to destroy me” by recruiting accusers “even behind offers of money.”

In effect, a detailed report published on September 20 2017 on “Vatican Insider” had given a troubling description of the power struggles at the top of the archdiocese of Agaña, before and after the opening of the trial against Apuron, struggles that were not calmed but became even fiercer during the phase of receivership of the archdiocese entrusted by the Vatican to then-secretary of “Propaganda Fide” Savio Hon Taifai and to coadjutor bishop Michael Jude Byrnes, now promoted as ordinary.

That some of the accusations made against Apuron were inconsistent had also been observed by the jury headed by Cardinal Burke, which however had upheld a couple of crimes as proven, with the consequent condemnation.

During the February 21-24 summit, various voices – including that of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and a member of the council of cardinals that assists Francis in governing the universal Church – were raised to call for the relaxation of the pontifical secrecy that precludes access to the proceedings of canonical trials.

But so far nothing has changed, on this. And if there is really the desire to overcome the unjustifiable rigidity of “zero tolerance” in the name of the defendant’s rights of defense and the proportionality of punishments, the much-lauded “transparency” must also be put into practice, with the publication not only of the final sentences, but also of the course that led to them.Condividi:

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Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir of God’s plan for the human race, man is condemned to the hell of individualism living in liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit and pleasure at any price.

‘As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West’: An interview with Cardinal Sarah

04/09/2019 at 9:24 AM Posted by Kevin Edward White

CATHOLIC CITIZENS OF ILLINOIS WEBSITE

Cardinal Robert Sarah 

The Vatican cardinal discusses his hard-hitting new book in this exclusive interview with La Nef

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Catholic Herald (US), April 5, 2019

Cardinal Robert Sarah is publishing the third of his book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat: The Day is Far Spent. An unflinching diagnosis, but one full of hope in the midst of the spiritual and moral crisis of the West.

1) In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.\

From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself. The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It preferred the kind of riches that it owed only to itself.

Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood. But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.

2) You write that “Christ never promised his faithful that they would be in the majority” (pg. 34), and you go on: “Despite the missionaries’ greatest efforts, the Church has never dominated the world. The Church’s mission is a mission of love, and love does not dominate” (pg. 35). Earlier, you wrote that “it is the ‘small remnant’ that has saved the faith.” If you will pardon a bold question: What is the problem exactly, seeing that this “small remnant” does in fact exist currently and manages to survive even in a world hostile to the faith?

Christians must be missionaries. They cannot keep the treasure of the Faith for themselves. Mission and evangelization remain an urgent spiritual task. And as St. Paul says, every Christian should be able to say “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). Further, “God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). How can we do nothing when so many souls do not know the only truth that sets us free: Jesus Christ? The prevailing relativism considers religious pluralism to be a good in itself. No! The plenitude of revealed truth that the Catholic Church has received must be transmitted, proclaimed, and preached.

The goal of evangelization is not world domination, but the service of God. Don’t forget that Christ’s victory over the world is…the Cross! It is not our intention to take over the power of the world. Evangelization is done through the Cross.

The martyrs are the first missionaries. Before the eyes of men, their life is a failure. The goal of evangelization is not to “keep count” like social media networks that want to “make a buzz.” Our goal is not to be popular in the media. We want that each and every soul be saved by Christ. Evangelization is not a question of success. It is a profoundly interior and supernatural reality.

3) I’d like to go back to one of your points in the previous question. Do you mean to say that European Christendom, where Christianity was able to establish itself throughout the whole of society, was only a sort of interlude in history; that it should not be taken as a model in the sense that in Europe Christianity “dominated” and imposed itself through a kind of social coercion?

A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation. But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls? There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. It must be emphasized, however, that evangelization is not complete when it takes hold of social structures. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state. A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice. A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state. 

4) Over the course of European history, we have moved from a society in which the group outweighed the person (the holism of the Middle Ages) – a type of society that still exists in Africa and continues to characterize Islam – to a society in which the person is emancipated from the group (individualism). We might also say, broadly speaking, that we have passed from a society dominated by the quest for truth to a society dominated by the quest for freedom. The Church herself has developed her doctrine in the face of this evolution, proclaiming the right to religious liberty at Vatican II. How do you see the position of the Church toward this evolution? Is there a balance to be struck between the two poles of “truth” and “freedom,” whereas so far we have merely gone from one excess to the other?

It is not correct to speak of a “balance” between two poles: truth and freedom. In fact, this manner of speaking presupposes that these realities are external to and in opposition to one another. Freedom is essentially a tending toward what is good and true. The truth is meant to be known and freely embraced. A freedom that is not itself oriented and guided by truth is nonsensical. Error has no rights. Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good.


Error has no rights. Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good. 

Revelation is the breaking in of divine truth into our lives. It does not constrain us. In giving and revealing Himself, God respects the freedom that He Himself created. I believe that the opposition between truth and freedom is the fruit of a false conception of human dignity.

Modern man hypostatizes his freedom, making it an absolute to the point of believing that it is threatened when he accepts the truth. However, to accept the truth is the most beautiful act of freedom that man can perform. I believe that your question reveals how deeply the crisis of the Western conscience is really in the end a crisis of faith. Western man is afraid of losing his freedom by accepting the gift of true faith. He prefers to close himself up inside a freedom that is devoid of content. The act of faith is an encounter between freedom and truth. That is why in the first chapter of my book I have insisted on the crisis of faith. Our freedom comes to fulfillment when it says “yes” to revealed truth. If freedom says “no” to God, it denies itself. It asphyxiates.

5) You dwell at length on the crisis of the priesthood and argue for priestly celibacy. What do you see as the primary cause in the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and what do you think of the summit that just took place in Rome on this question?

I think that the crisis of the priesthood is one of the main factors in the crisis of the Church. We have taken away priests’ identity. We have made priests believe that they need to be efficient men. But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself. The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself. The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. The roots of this crisis are spiritual. A priest who does not pray or makes a theatre out of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, a priest who only confesses rarely and who does not live concretely like another Christ, is cut off from the source of his own being. The result is death. I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned.

We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I want to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hate! I want to express my affection as a father and brother for the priests of the whole world.

6) In a book that has caused quite a stir [In the Closet of the Vatican, by Frédéric Martel], the author explains that there are many homosexual prelates in the Vatican. He lends credibility to Mgr Viganò’s denunciation of the influence of a powerful gay network in the heart of the Curia. What do you think of this? Is there a homosexual problem in the heart of the Church and if so, why is it a taboo?

Today the Church is living with Christ through the outrages of the Passion. The sins of her members come back to her like strikes on the face. Some have tried to instrumentalize these sins in order to put pressure on the bishops. Some want them to adopt the judgments and language of the world. Some bishops have caved in to the pressure. We see them calling for the abandonment of priestly celibacy or making unsound statements about homosexual acts. Should we be surprised? The Apostles themselves turned tail in the Garden of Olives. They abandoned Christ in His most difficult hour.

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to doctrinal truth! They disorient the Christian faithful by their confusing and ambiguous language. They adulterate and falsify the Word of God, willing to twist and bend it to gain the world’s approval. They are the Judas Iscariots of our time.

Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity. Let us not perpetuate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us. 

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity. Let us not perpetuate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us. When the fault is public, the penalties provided for by Church law must be applied. Punishment is merciful, an act of charity and fraternal love. Punishment restores the damage done to the common good and permits the guilty party to redeem himself. Punishment is part of the paternal role of bishops. Finally, we must have the courage to clearly apply the norms regarding the acceptance of seminarians. Men whose psychology is deeply and permanently anchored in homosexuality, or who practice duplicity and lying, cannot be accepted as candidates for the priesthood.

7) One chapter is dedicated to the “crisis of the Church.” When precisely do you place the beginning of this crisis and what does it consist in? In particular, how do you relate the “crisis of faith” to the crisis of “moral theology.” Does one precede the other?

The crisis of the Church is above all a crisis of the faith. Some want the Church to be a human and horizontal society; they want it to speak the language of the media. They want to make it popular. They urge it not to speak about God, but to throw itself body and soul into social problems: migration, ecology, dialogue, the culture of encounter, the struggle against poverty, for justice and peace. These are of course important and vital questions before which the Church cannot shut her eyes. But a Church such as this is of interest to no one. The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus. She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us. When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her. We are tempted to think that our action and our ideas will save the Church. It would be better to begin by letting her save herself.

I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests. Priests must be possessed by the desire for holiness, for perfection in God and fidelity to the doctrine of Him who has chosen and sent them. Their whole being and all their activities must be put to the service of sanctity. The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself. It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her. Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about.

Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about.

We need saints who dare to see all things through the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God. The crisis of moral theology is the consequence of a voluntary blindness. We have refused to look at life through the light of the Faith.

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

8) The second and third parts of your book are about crisis in western societies. The subject is so vast, and you touch on so many important points–from the expansion of the “culture of death” to the problems of consumerism tied to global liberalism, passing through questions of identity, transmission, Islamism, etc.–that it is impossible to address them all. Among these problems, which seem to you to be the most important and what are the principal causes for the decline of the West?

First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment. As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples. At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore! I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature.

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism? Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion. Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn. 

9) You end this beautiful book with a section entitled “Rediscovering Hope: The Practice of the Christian Virtues.” What do you mean by this? In what way can practicing these virtues be a remedy for the multifarious crisis we have spoken about in this interview?

We should not imagine a special program that could provide a remedy for the current multi-faceted crisis. We have simply to live our Faith, completely and radically. The Christian virtues are the Faith blossoming in all the human faculties. They mark the way for a happy life in harmony with God. We must create places where they can flourish. I call upon Christians to open oases of freedom in the midst the desert created by rampant profiteering. We must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible. Our communities must put God in the center. Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced. In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way. The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others. Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31). In the disaster, confusion, and darkness of our world, we find “the light that shines in the darkness” (cf. Jn 1:5): He who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

Translated from the French by Zachary Thomas (Original)

Note: the French text published by La Nef edited the text of the interview given by the Cardinal. This is a translation of the integral text supplied by the Cardinal.

Ignatius Press has announced the 2019 publication of an English translation entitled The Day is Far Spent, available for pre-order on their website.

Article first appeared at: HTTPS://CATHOLICHERALD.CO.UK/COMMENTANDBLOGS/2019/04/05/AS-A-BISHOP-IT-IS-MY-DUTY-TO-WARN-THE-WEST-AN-INTERVIEW-WITH-CARDINAL-SARAH/

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KASSI MARKS RECENTLY PARTICIPATED IN AN IMPORTANT DIALOGUE AT SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY. IT IS A GOOD REPORT THAT SHE SENT TO ABYSSUM WHICH I AM GLAD TO POST.

kassiblog.com

Report on the Dialogue, Not Debate Event at Southern Methodist University

Posted: 13 Apr 2019 09:40 PM PDT

It’s been a busy week as I said it would be. I did go down to Austin to testify Wednesday on what ended up being three separate life-affirming, life-protecting bills. I’m going to blog about those soon. My good friend is still getting some video clips prepared. You’re not just going to see my testimony and some of those who supported the bills, but also some of those who opposed them. It’s going to be educational for you and I think
further validate some things I’ve been saying on this blog for years. But right now, I want to tell you about the discussion panel at SMU Thursday night. 

I’ve been debating within myself (not dialoguing) about how best to present a report on the Dialogue, Not Debate event at SMU. It was rather eye-opening for some reasons that had nothing to do with the abortion issue itself. Rather than summarize what happened, I’m going to just link here the full video of the exchange and commend it to you for your education, awareness…and prayer for all involved. 

For my part, I wanted to meet this audience where it was and really get people to think about how the disregard for some life leaves everyone vulnerable. I also wanted to get people to think past the immediate shock, surprise, fear, and panic that might accompany the discovery of a pregnancy rather than just run to abortion as a solution. Sometimes the unexpected can be a blessing if we step back and stop trying to control each situation and see each change to that as something wrong, bad, and which must be prevented. In other words, as Christians would say, “Let go and let God.” I also wanted everyone to know that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Whether one believes that or not, one needs to hear it. 

I do want to highlight or expand upon a few points that you will see in the video and some things that I was unable to say for the sake of time, etc. 
I mentioned during this event a book that would inform women of their fertility because it had come up from the pro-abortion side that one of problems women face and why they need Planned Parenthood is because there is just not enough information about fertility and it’s hard to find on the internet, etc., etc., etc. One book that helped me navigate Natural Family Planning, which I found was presented in an overly complicated way in Catholic books, was Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I think women are smart and capable of reading and understanding the written word. I also think that certain motivations are exposed when you present a simple solution to a problem they raise – there’s no information on fertility; here’s a book; people don’t have money for books… – tells us a great deal. Other than that, I’ll let their response speak for itself.

Another thing I will note is that Dr. Kanter admitted that the government could withdraw all funding from PP and it would not go anywhere. In other words, PP doesn’t need our government dollars. That is excellent to know next time the subject comes up in the legislature. As for the PP’s argument that the provision of abortion is only 3% of what it does, that is inaccurate. A look at the study showed how those numbers are cooked. They also claimed that they do mammograms; you know, the usual things. You’ll see links below for some of the things I reviewed. Not everything was said that I wanted to, but you have to make some calls about what points to press and which ones just aren’t relevant to the overall message that needed to get across.

Then, I want you to understand the difference between abortion and preterm parturition which is the procedure that is done when a pregnancy is truly life-threatening to a woman. As I mentioned in my part of the panel discussion, there is a night and day difference in intent, purpose, and how the baby is treated. Indeed, if possible, the baby is saved. In the article I was referring to, Dr. Donna J. Harrison, stated: “There is a night and day difference between elective abortion and separating a mother and her unborn child for the purposes of saving a mother’s life (preterm parturition).” Dr. Harrison continued:

There are times when separating the mother and her unborn child is necessary to save the life of the mother, even if the unborn child is too premature to live. In those tragic cases, if possible the life of the baby will be attempted to be preserved, and if not possible, the body of the unborn child is treated with respect, recognizing the humanity of the life which is lost in the separation.A doctor friend of mine has expressed to me how other doctors recoil in horror at the use of the term “abortion” for these medically necessary procedures. They do not consider them the same because they are not in intent and how the baby is treated. They are not done primarily to kill the baby, whereas that is exactly the case with abortion.

As for abortion to save the life of the mother once viable or near the general viability mark, that is never necessary. As I say in my written testimony in support of SB 1033 which I will blog about later, you do not have to have abortion for that. Again, that is a case where the baby can be saved as well; at the very least, we try to save him or her. Killing the baby in that circumstance does nothing to save the mother whose life is threatened by the pregnancy. You can end a pregnancy and save both lives. Again, you would not use the abortion procedure, but preterm parturition. I was reminded recently that a baby born at 21 weeks in 2017 thrived despite the odds. Medicine is getting better and better and that is partially why I think we see arguments based on viability and when life begins going out the window and being replaced with versions of those doesn’t matter, the woman decides who lives or dies.

I’m told by some in the audience that it was a hostile crowd. I sensed that
only slightly – and you see me interact with one woman who was being
slightly disruptive at times – and I certainly expected it. But I sensed that
a great many were paying attention. I talked to half a dozen young women afterwards who sought me out to talk, seek advice, and thank me, in
addition to those who organized the event. While on stage, I was primarily focused on delivering a message of love and hope and life for everyone. It
is not complicated when you look at it that way. Yes, there are complicated situations; but respecting life is not complicated. There are scary,
unexpected situations. But fundamentally, it we value all life, things actually become simpler. Not necessarily easier, but simpler.

This idea that life is complicated; who knows when it begins; who cares when it begins, we’re women, we have the power to give and take life…is, frankly, disturbing and appalling. As I said in my talk, yes, we have the power to give life but with that comes great responsibility. As women, we have a responsibility to nurture and protect life, especially that which we carry. Men, of course, have that responsibility, too. But in this case, the idea was that women call all the shots and the best man was one who said, “If you get pregnant, babe; it’s all up to you.”

As I said there, the time to decide you don’t want to be a mother is before you are pregnant. And, yes, I did say that if the choice is between an abortion if you get pregnant and a 50 cent condom, use the condom. Am I pushing contraception now? No, I am not and I said that. However, you have to meet your audience where they are in these situations. Many are far from that point and if I can do something to plant a seed where they begin to question this “easy solution of abortion” then I am going to do that and not distract them by an unyielding anti-contraception rant – which they were expecting anyway and were surprised not to get. The audience will tune me out and we lose any effort to save any baby. The other panelists will focus on that rather than the ugliness of abortion and those saying certain life is not valuable and not to be protected. I wanted to stay focused on that mentality. Sometimes you have to make a judgment call and I did just that.

One thing I’ve learned, especially in the last year and a half, is that people are complicated and life is complicated. That is true. The issue of abortion, however, is actually simple. Unborn babies are human from the moment of fertilization and worthy of protection. (If you are interested, the article about the zinc fireworks set off at fertilization is here.) But the issue becomes complicated because, as with everything else, people are broken, man is in a fallen state, and everyone is on a journey. (It’s made more complicated by people, including clergy, acting like there is some uncertain point at which the unborn are human and worthy of protection and by feminist or anti-life politics; e.g., that life does not begin until the born baby takes its first breath and experiences life. Watch the video.) We are to keep progressing forward even as we fall backwards constantly. Yes, there is black and white morality. But the application of it to each person in their particular state gets difficult. You push someone too far before they are ready, they will usually quit – and bitterly so. There is a balance that has to be reached.

None of us are there perfectly yet, that is, in that perfectly moral state without any sin or temptation to sin. We fall every day and our pride often prevents us from even seeing it, much less correcting it as we should. We try to move forward toward perfection and we are called to strive toward every day in every way. But if we tell people who are far from God or who say they believe in God but are far from the idea that there is a right to life that X (no contraception) is the only way for them, when Y (non- abortifacient contraception rather than an abortion) gets them a little closer and doesn’t cause death, maybe that will help them get closer to X (no contraception) and even to Z (where they reject the idea of abortion entirely), we are doing them a greater service than painting them in a corner they don’t understand, and cannot yet, and where they harden their hearts against the entire idea of a right to life for the unborn (and others). I recognize that the contraceptive mentality often leads to the abortion mentality, especially in these circumstances. I fully believe that and I’ve said so for years. We’d not have had Roe v. Wade but for Griswold v. Connecticut (which established the right to privacy in the context of contraceptive access). But, again, this is a situation where we take baby steps and do what we can to try to get people to do the least harm as we hopefully help them progress toward a consistent ethic of life.

It was a unique experience for me to be on this panel and it was enlighten- ing. I hope I also planted some seeds and represented life well. Please pray for all who participated and listened to this discussion. Pray for a society that begins to value all life and want to protect it again. My introductory remarks were from the heart. Society has become depraved with this idea that we kill whoever we think is inconvenient or not utilitarian, who is too old, feeble, disabled, potentially with a birth defect, an undesired gender, or whatever. The reasons are as endless as they are wrong. We have to take back the culture. I have not done enough. We can probably never do enough. But let’s look for more ways to do that anyway and do our best.

Remember: We err, if we are to err at all, on the side of life. Always.

Thanks for reading! 
P.S. If you’re interested in some of the other things I mentioned, the sources are as follows:

Regarding Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers and the services they don’t provide, I reviewed this article, this one, and this one.

Also, the Texas Healthy Women’s program is here. As you know, I have been critical of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Program as I see it as a primarily contraceptive program, including abortifacient contraceptives, but in this case, they needed to see that there is something other than PP even for that which does not provide money for abortion.



AN EDITORIAL NOTE BY ABYSSUM
Kassi Marks is a friend of mine. She is an appellate lawyer who lives in North Texas, is married and has two children. She has been of great help
to Texas Right to Life is fighting in the Texas Legislature for the defense of human life.
https://www.facebook.com/
813970358634283/posts/2395895450441758?sfns=mo







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“To see the Vicar of Christ on earth, Successor of St. Peter, down on all fours did violence to the sensibilities of many Catholics. In fact, it’s the perfect metaphor for the Church of Vatican II — a pope kissing the feet of the world.” 


New from THE REMNANT

FRANCIS: Most Humble Pope of All Time!

Dear Friends:Pope Francis is, it would seem, out of control. 

In this Remnant TV Short, we briefly examine the bizarre scene from the Vatican last week wherein Pope Francis suddenly took it upon himself to start kissing the feet of some visiting dignitaries from Sudan. 

To see the Vicar of Christ on earth, Success of St. Peter, down on all fours
did violence to the sensibilities of many Catholics. In fact, it’s the perfect metaphor for the Church of Vatican II — a pope kissing the feet of the
world. 

They say Pope Francis is humble. And if it is true, he seems very proud of
his humility. But is it humility that causes one to stand when others kneel,
to keel when others stand, and to constantly be seeking out opportunities
to single oneself out and be different?

By the way, we were told that the reason Francis rarely kneels in front of
the Blessed Sacrament is because of problems with arthritis. Was there
some miraculous cure? In this footage, the man seems positively eager to show us all how spry he is.  

As part of our effort to do what we can to undermine the agenda of this most dangerous pope—and thus to decrease  potential damage to the Church he seems hell-bent on destroying—please watch and share  this Remnant TV video.

Michael J. Matt

C   
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