Novus Ordo: Schonborn the Final Word? No More Just War?, Lesbos = Ecumenism & Socialist meets Socialist
Here is the latest vomit coming from the Modernists behind Vatican II
Apostate Schonborn (who was in the running for Pope) and his "balloon mass"
"Pope" says Schonborn interpretation on Communion for remarried is the final wordApril 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – On the flight returning from Greece, Pope Francis was asked if the Apostolic Exhortation contained a "change in discipline that governs access to the sacraments" for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. The Pope replied, “I can say yes, period.” The Pope then urged reading the presentation of Cardinal Schönborn for the final answer to the question, calling Schönborn a “great theologian who knows the doctrine of the Church.”
Schonborn’s presentation boiled down Pope Francis’ more than 60,000 words in the exhortation to 3000, but in that short space made sure to include the “smoking footnote” being seen as the opening of the door to Holy Communion to Catholics living in second unions where annulment from the first union was not possible. The position contradicts Pope St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
In his presentation of the Exhortation, Cardinal Schonborn said:
Naturally this poses the question: what does the Pope say in relation to access to the sacraments for people who live in “irregular” situations? Pope Benedict had already said that “easy recipes” do not exist (AL 298, note 333). Pope Francis reiterates the need to discern carefully the situation, in keeping with St. John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio (84) (AL 298). “Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits. By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God” (AL 205). He also reminds us of an important phrase from Evangelii gaudium, 44: “A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties” (AL 304). In the sense of this “via caritatis” (AL 306), the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note (351) that the help of the sacraments may also be given “in certain cases”. But for this purpose he does not offer us case studies or recipes, but instead simply reminds us of two of his famous phrases: “I want to remind priests that the confessional should not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (EG 44), and the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47).In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul wrote: “the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.” He explained, “They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”
Is it an excessive challenge for pastors, for spiritual guides and for communities if the “discernment of situations” is not regulated more precisely? Pope Francis acknowledges this concern: “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion” (AL 308). However, he challenges this, remarking that “We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel” (AL 311).
Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, told Vatican journalist Edward Pentin that Amoris Laetitia adopts the approach that he has already been using within his own archdiocese, which can allow for admittance to the sacraments after a process of discernment focused on several different questions.
Schönborn, who has argued that the Church should embrace the “positive elements” of gay unions and other sexual sins and has a history of contradicting Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality, said that there are “no forbidden questions” when discussing Amoris Laetitia.
“We all know many priests,” who admit remarried divorcees to Holy Communion “without discussing or asking, and that’s a fact,” and it’s “difficult to handle for the bishop,” he said.
Watch this Modernist in action
Landmark Vatican conference rejects just war theory, asks for encyclical on nonviolence
Members of a three-day event co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the international Catholic peace organization Pax Christi, strongly called on Pope Francis to consider writing some other “major teaching document,” reorienting the Church’s teachings on violence. Violent aggressors need to be stopped, says a co-president of Pax Christi International, but not with military force. Instead, we need to invest in creative energy to identify alternatives
vatican cityThe participants of a first-of-its-kind Vatican conference have bluntly rejected the Catholic Church’s long-held teachings on just war theory, saying they have too often been used to justify violent conflicts and the global Church must reconsider Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence.
Members of a three-day event co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the international Catholic peace organization Pax Christi have also strongly called on Pope Francis to consider writing an encyclical letter, or some other “major teaching document,” reorienting the Church’s teachings on violence.
“There is no ’just war,’” the some 80 participants of the conference state in an appeal they released Thursday morning.
“Too often the ’just war theory’ has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war,” they continue. “Suggesting that a ’just war’ is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict.”
“We need a new framework that is consistent with Gospel nonviolence,” say the participants, noting that Francis and his four predecessors have all spoken out against war often. “We propose that the Catholic Church develop and consider shifting to a Just Peace approach based on Gospel nonviolence.”
Just war theory is a tradition that uses a series of criteria to evaluate whether use of violence can be considered morally justifiable. First referred to by fourth-century bishop St. Augustine of Hippo, it was later articulated in depth by 13th-century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas and is today outlined by four conditions in the formal Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Rome conference, held Monday through Wednesday, brought experts engaged in global nonviolent struggles to reconsider the theory for the first time under the aegis of the Vatican.
It comes after a number of theologians have criticized continued use of the theory in modern times, saying that both the powerful capabilities of modern weapons and evidence of the effectiveness of nonviolent campaigns make it outdated.
At a press event launching the conference’s final appeal document -- given the title “An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence” -- several of the event’s participants said the Church should simply no longer teach the just war theory.
“I came a long distance for this conference, with a very clear mind that violence is outlived,” said Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, Uganda. “It is out of date for our world of today.”
“We have to sound this with a strong voice,” said the archbishop. “Any war is a destruction. There is no justice in destruction. … It is outdated.”
The Catechism currently outlines as one criteria for moral justification of war that “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated” and notes that “the power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.”
Odama, who also leads Uganda’s bishops’ conference, said the conditions in the Catechism “are only given to say in reality there should be no war.”
“This is where the group was very strong,” he said, referring to the conference. “We should not give now, at this moment, reasons for war. Let us block them and promote relationships of harmony, of brother and sisterhood, rather than going for war.”
Marie Dennis, an American who serves as a co-president of Pax Christi International, said she and the conference group “believe that it is time for the Church to speak another word into the global reality.”
“When we look at the reality of war, when we look at the teachings of Jesus, we’re asking what is the responsibility of the Church,” she said. “And it is, we believe, a responsibility to promote nonviolence.”
Dennis also said she understands that people may raise concerns in rejecting the just war theory over needing to stop unjust aggressors. Her group, she said, agrees that violent aggressors have to be stopped.
“The question is how,” said Dennis. “Our belief would be that as long as we keep saying we can do it with military force, we will not invest the creative energy, the deep thinking, the financial and human resources in creating or identifying the alternatives that actually could make a difference.”
“As long as we say that dropping bombs will solve the problem we won’t find other solutions and I think that feeling is more and more clear to us,” he said.
The April conference on just war theory had been discussed for months and was the first cohosted by the Vatican’s pontifical council and Pax Christi, an international Catholic coalition akin to Amnesty International that maintains separate national groups in many countries.
The conference was organized around four sessions allowing participants to dialogue and share experiences with one another. The only scheduled talk at the event was given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the pontifical council, who also read a letter sent to the participants by Francis.
Among other participants were bishops from Nigeria and Japan, and leaders of the Rome-based umbrella groups for men and women religious around the world. Also taking part were a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, several noted theologians, and Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
The group’s final appeal states succinctly: “The time has come for our Church to be a living witness and to invest far greater human and financial resources in promoting a spirituality and practice of active nonviolence.”
“In all of this, Jesus is our inspiration and model,” they state. “Neither passive nor weak, Jesus’ nonviolence was the power of love in action.”
Odama said Jesus “always asked his followers not to resort to violence in solving problems, including in his last stage of life.”
“On the cross, [Jesus] said, ’Father forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing,’” said the archbishop. “In this statement, he united the whole of humanity under one father.”
“He does not take violent words and violent actions,” said Odama. “That is the greatest act of teaching as to how we should handle our situations. Not violence.”
Dennis said that part of the goal in organizing the conference “was to ultimately lead to an encyclical or a process that would produce major Catholic teaching on nonviolence.”
“We haven’t run into a roadblock yet,” she said. “There are no promises.”
“What we really hope will happen is a process that will engage the Vatican and the Catholic communities around the world in exactly these questions,” said Dennis. “What can we know better about the role that nonviolence can play in shifting our world to a better place?”
Ken Butigan, a lecturer at DePaul University in Chicago and executive director of the non-profit group Pace e Bene, said: “We have gotten a green light for months that this is something that Pope Francis is excited about moving forward on.”
“We are determined to support that momentum at this historical moment,” he said. “We know Pope Francis has a vision and we’re here to support that vision.”
Far out Man!
The Pope’s visit to Lesbos, hands-on ecumenism
Christians of different denominations are working together to serve those who are suffering and escaping the effects of war
vatican cityThe schedule for Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday 16 April is being drawn up. The Pope will be welcomed at Mytilene airport by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, after which there will be a moment of prayer at the city’s port. After this, Francis, Bartholomew and the Orthodox Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos II will throw a floral wreath in to the sea, in commemoration of the dead. They will then pay a visit to the local refugee reception centre where they are expected to stay for lunch.
The Pope’s gesture is a powerful wake-up call for Europe, which is being called upon to take up its responsibilities in the face of the current emergency that is seeing people flee wars and violence. This gesture has ecumenical origins and significance. The Pope was invited to the island by Bartholomew and the permanent Synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece. This common expression of support from the leaders of the Christian Churches to the refugees is highly significant because it is a demonstration of something Francis has constantly emphasised when speaking about relations between Christians: working together to help those who are suffering, going some of the way together and engaging in a common commitment, helps them progress along the path towards unity, as much as – in not more than – theological dialogue and study commissions.
That the Pope and Bartholomew are on the same wavelength, is already evident from the peace initiative for the Middle East as well as their common concern for the protection of creation. The concrete aim of drawing people’s attention especially to the suffering of Christians in countries crushed by war and terrorism was fundamental for the meeting which took place between Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill. The two famously met at Havana airport before the Pope continued his journey on to Mexico.
On 21 March, Francis discussed the visit to Lesbos with the Greek Orthodox Bishop Gavril of Nea Ionia who was sent to discuss some confidential details regarding the papal visit. In recent days, the statements of three Greek bishops – the Metropolitans of Glyfada, Piraeus and Kalavryta – were published, expressing their opposition to the Pope’s visit, protesting the fact that the decision to invite the Pope was not taken by the assembly of all bishops but by the permanent Synod, that is the government body in which the episcopate’s representatives are elected each year on a rotational basis. This is not the first time the three metropolitans have shown their opposition to any kind of ecumenical openness and their positions are well known. The Bishop of Kalavryta, for example, publicly supported Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party which is accused of being a neo-Nazi establishment.
The public protestations of three representatives of the Orthodox hierarchy is not therefore seen as particularly representative of the mood of the Greek Orthodox Church. Francis’ flash visit will be the first papal voyage to Greece, since Wojtyla’s jubilee pilgrimage to the country in the footsteps of Saint Paul the Apostle in May 2001. Back then, John Paul II managed to thaw the cold attitude of Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos and the permanent Synod by describing the 1204 crusade that led to the pillaging of Constantinople, as a “mysterium iniquitatis”. Although the event had taken place eight centuries earlier, it remained very much alive in the memory of the Orthodox Church.
Much progress has been made since then. Orthodox and Catholic Christians are now working together to welcome refugees and the mythological island of Lesbos, thanks to the generosity of the locals, is becoming the symbol of a Europe that does not resign itself to being nothing more than a single market that splits hairs over economic rules but wishes instead to remember its founding values. The brief visit by the Bishop of Rome, who will be welcomed by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople and the Archbishop of Athens, will therefore be an example of that ecumenism of humble service, which sees Christians of different denominations working side by side to help the suffering.
Vatican-approved magazine: Exhortation opens door to Holy Communion for remarried divorcees
Claire Chretien and John Jalsevac
April 13, 2016 ( LifeSiteNews.com/news/vatican-approved-newspaper-exhortation-allows-holy-communion-for-remarried ) – As Catholics around the world debate the implications of Pope Francis’ controversial apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, two of his close collaborators are suggesting that he has indeed opened the door to the possibility of granting Communion to remarried divorcees – a practice condemned by previous popes as a violation of Scripture and Church teaching.
Both Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who the pope chose to present the exhortation last week, and Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, a close advisor of the pope who reportedly helped draft the exhortation, have made that claim in recent days.
Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, a Jesuit journal approved by the Vatican prior to publication, wrote that Amoris Laetitia marks an “evolution” in the way the Church will approach its “accompaniment” of those living in situations that the Church teaches are objectively sinful.
In particular, he says, it incorporates a new, more open, method of discernment of individual cases, one that is “without limits on integration, as appeared in the past.” This integration, he says, quoting the exhortation, “in certain cases can include the help of the sacraments,” even in cases where there might be “an objective situation of sin.”
In terms of what those past limits were that are no longer in effect, Spadaro specifically singles out the “condition” laid out in Pope St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio and Pope Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum Caritatis – namely that couples in an adulterous second union who are unable to separate for serious reasons can be readmitted to the Sacraments only on condition that they live together in “complete continence” – i.e. without engaging in marital intimacy.
Spadaro makes the controversial claim that by proposing a discernment “without limits” – including the limit of continence – Francis in fact “moves forward” in the same direction as his precedessors. Instead of such limits on integration, he says, the exhortation places the question back into the realm of conscience. Again quoting the exhortation, he says that conscience can sometimes “recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”
The Jesuit editor concludes his article: “The pastoral practice of ‘all or nothing’ seems more sure to the ‘rigorist’ theologians, but it inevitably leads to a ‘Church of the pure.’ Valuing formal perfection before all else and as an end in itself brings the risk of unfortunately covering up many behaviors that are in fact hypocritical and pharisaic.”
For his part, Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, told Vatican journalist Edward Pentin that Amoris Laetitia adopts the approach that he has already been using within his own archdiocese, which can allow for admittance to the sacraments after a process of discernment focused on several different questions.
Schönborn, who has argued that the Church should embrace the “positive elements” of gay unions and other sexual sins and has a history of contradicting Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality, said that there are “no forbidden questions” when discussing Amoris Laetitia.
“We all know many priests,” who admit remarried divorcees to Holy Communion “without discussing or asking, and that’s a fact,” and it’s “difficult to handle for the bishop,” he said.
Pentin reported at the National Catholic Register that Schönborn’s approach to the question of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried
…involves what Schönborn called “five attentions” made to remarried divorcees: a series of five questions the priest must ask to see how merciful and correctly they have behaved before, it can be inferred, they are able to receive Holy Communion. They include how they treat the children of their first marriages, how they treated their abandoned spouse, and how they dealt with unresolved hatred.Pope St. John Paul II articulated the Church’s longstanding approach to the question in his own exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, released after the 1980 Synod on the Family. The late pope wrote:
With this approach, the sacraments “come into another light,” he said. “It’s about the way of conversion.”
…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.Nevertheless, numerous bishops throughout the world are taking the exhortation to mean that the Church has left aside this longstanding practice.
In a response to the document, the Catholic bishops of the Philippine state that the Church must welcome those in irregular unions to “the table of sinners at which the All-Holy Lord offers himself as food for the wretched.” They wrote:
After collective discernment, your bishops will come up with more concrete guidelines on the implementation of the Apostolic Exhortation. But mercy cannot wait. Mercy should not wait. Even now, bishops and priests must open welcoming arms to those who have kept themselves out of the Church because of a sense of guilt and of shame. The laity must do no less. When our brothers and sisters who, because of broken relations, broken families and broken lives, stand timidly at the doors of our churches – and of our lives – unsure whether they are welcome or not, let us go out to meet them, as the Pope urges us to, and assure them that at the table of sinners at which the All-Holy Lord offers himself as food for the wretched, there is always room. O res mirabilis manducat Dominum pauper, servus et humilis…O wonderful reality that the poor, the slave and the lowly should partake of the Lord. This is a disposition of mercy, an openness of heart and of spirit that needs no law, awaits no guideline, nor bides on prompting. It can and should happen immediately.Liberal German theologians are also praising the exhortation in interviews and articles on the official website of the German Bishops. Dr. Maike Hickson has reported on these theologians at Catholicism.org.
Stephan Goertz, a progressive German theologian who has argued that same-sex relationships could potentially have a “sacramental character,” praised Amoris Laetitia’s omission of “explicit condemnation of homosexual practice as a grave sin.”
“The category of ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ which dominated the Church’s sexual morality for centuries,” is thankfully on the backburner now, Goertz said.
Church historian and professor Hubert Wolf labeled the exhortation “revolutionary” and a “fundamental paradigm shift in papal teaching.”
German theologian Ute Eberl praised Amoris Laetitia to the German branch of Vatican Radio, particularly for the emphasis it places on individual conscience and pertinent decisions being made within dioceses.
Other German theologians celebrated the exhortation as embracing the heterodox practice of some German dioceses of admitting remarried divorcees to the Sacraments. Hickson explained:
Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff, of Freiburg, Germany, sees in the papal document a “confirmation of the Freiburg approach with relation to the remarried divorcees.” (In Freiburg, “remarried” divorcees may already receive the Sacraments after a time of discernment with the help of a priest.) Schockenhoff said, as follows, according to the German branch of Radio Vatican: “The diocese [of Freiburg] has every reason to feel confirmed in the path it has already chosen so far, and thus to continue walking on it with confidence. It would be even better, if other dioceses would now likewise follow [this example].” The theologian praises the pope for “not any more describing each deviation as grave sin” and for “not formulating abstract truth,” but, rather, “for wanting to make a case-by-case decision.” With it, he continues, “the foundation for any general exclusion of the remarried divorcees from Communion is thereby taken away.”Although some passages of Amoris Laetitia upheld Church teaching on moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, gender theory, and same-sex “marriage,” numerous Catholic writers, theologians, and canon lawyers have expressed concerns about the exhortation. The lay group Voice of the Family expressed concern over certain passages that they say seriously undermine the teachings and practice of the Church.
‘Gay’ couple brings Offertory gifts at Arch. Gomez’ Mass
On February 28,
2016, as the last act of the L.A. Education Congress, Archbishop José
Gomez said a Mass. He chose 10 couples representing the Catholics of Los
Angeles to bring the Offertory gifts to the altar. Among them was a
male homosexual “couple” carrying between them a boy they had adopted.
This was the way Gomez found to officialize both homosexual “marriages”
and the adoption of children by them.
Above, you see Gomez welcoming the homosexual couple at the foot of the altar. Below first row, he blesses the boy, which is an indirect way to bless the “parents” and their anti-natural liaison.
Third row, they climb the steps to the altar, one of them carrying a lemonade pitcher with wine to be consecrated; fourth row,
since they were one of the first couples on the list, they wait at the
corner of the altar for the others to bring their gifts. Last row, Gomez at the center top of the altar, with the couples, ready to continue the Mass. The homosexual couple is at the bottom left side of the altar.
Some naïve conservatives say that Gomez is acting in opposition to
Francis, and, to substantiate their argument, they quote a text of Amoris Laetitia in which Francis lightly opposes homosexual “marriages.”
Don't be fooled! Gomez received the green light to do what he did. We
are witnessing a hypocritical Vatican policy where the doctrine does not
change, but every moral excess is not only permitted but given official
approval in the name of “pastoral,” “love” and “mercy.”
Video available here.
Bernie Sanders invited by Vatican to speak at conference, sparking controversyDemocratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he has accepted an invitation from the Vatican to attend and speak at a conference on social, economic and environmental issues just days before the New York primary on April 15.
And in the process he sparked a diplomatic controversy over Vatican protocol.
"I am very excited to have received an invitation from the Vatican to participate in a major conference dealing with how we inject morality into the world's economy," Sanders told reporters Friday morning.
When asked if he will personally meet with Pope Francis, Sanders said it was not yet clear.
"It is something that I very much would like to do," Sanders said. "The Pope’s schedule is determined by the Vatican. I would certainly be enthusiastic about that. I think there is a possibility, but that has not been scheduled.”
Sanders said he would be giving a speech at the Vatican conference next Friday, April 15, and will return to the U.S. on Saturday.
An hour or two later, Bloomberg News reported that Sanders had touched off a diplomatic row, with one Vatican official telling the business service that the Vermont senator had essentially invited himself to the conference, in the process showing "monumental discourtesy."
“Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons,” the president of the conference's host, Margaret Archer of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, told Bloomberg. “I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote, but this is not the Catholic vote, and he should remember that and act accordingly.”
A senior Vatican source, however, told Fox News that Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, not Pope Francis, invited Sanders to the conference, but no one-on-one meeting between Sanders and the pope is foreseen at this time.
The source also told Fox News that the Vatican is eager to stay out of the U.S. presidential campaign, especially with many Catholics expressing unease on social media that the pro-choice Sanders will be speaking at the Vatican.
"Is that going to thrill us? No," the Vatican source told Fox News. But the source added that the pope meets with many different politicians, and it's possible that Sanders will meet with Francis in a larger group.
The New York primary takes place on Tuesday April 19, but when Sanders was asked if his visit to the Vatican just days before the primary meant he was feeling confident about the election, Sanders said, "[It] simply means that this is an invitation from the Vatican, from a pope that I have enormous respect for on the need to have morality in our economy. We cannot simply be worshippers of greed and money. We have got to create an economy that works for all people and not just the few."
Sanders said he greatly admires the pontiff, who, like Sanders, has spoken out against inequality and the threat of global warming.
"Pope Francis in my mind has been an extraordinary leader in making the world conscious of the levels of income and wealth inequality that exist on our planet," Sanders said. "Obviously, he's also been a leader on climate change and making a point that, from a moral perspective, it is absolutely imperative that we leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for future generations."
Jesuit USF president endorses same-sex “marriage”
Jesuit USF president endorses same-sex “marriage”
California Catholic Daily exclusive: Jesuit Father Paul Fitzgerald publicly congratulates lesbian couple [“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”: The Jesuit pope did the same at a personal audience in the Vatican]
APRIL 16, 2016 @ cal-catholic.com/?p=23411
On April 14, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the ‘marriage’ of the coach of the women’s basketball team at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, Jennifer Azzi. Ms. Azzi, who has coached the team since 2010, announced that she was ‘married’ to Ms. Blair Hardiek on March 31.
The high-profile event made national news. It also offered an important opportunity for the ostensibly Catholic university to take a stand on one of the most important and non-negotiable battles between the Church and what St. Pope John Paul II correctly identified as the Culture of Death. The president of the university, Jesuit Father Paul Fitzgerald, missed his opportunity.
From the Chronicle article:
“USF President Paul Fitzgerald did not know Azzi and Hardiek were married, but was quick to offer congratulations the day after Azzi’s announcement.”
This is surprising, especially considering that at least one past statement by Father Fitzgerald could be seen as implying that he supports the natural, Catholic definition of marriage. A June 26, 2015 Twitter post from USF’s official Twitter feed, following the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ in Obergefell v. Hodges, said: “Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide in the wake of #SFPride: sco.lt/55xpGz – @UST_LTMC #LoveWins.”
Father Fitzgerald responded, and attempted to distance USF from its own Twitter post. He wrote, “A social media post concerning the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was posted on the University of San Francisco Twitter account in error. This post does not represent the views of the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university. While the university deeply respects and promotes the innate dignity of all gay and lesbian students, faculty, staff, and alumni as they are created in the image and likeness of God, it does not endorse views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church.”
Father Fitzgerald’s statement that the university “does not endorse views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church” invites the question: what is “the university”? A university is an artificial construct. It cannot endorse views at all.
But it is made up of people who can, people like the openly homosexual Jesuit Father Donal Godfrey, the then-executive director of USF’s University Ministry who told Catholic San Francisco on December 13, 2008 that he “personally opposed Prop 8”— a view on marriage inconsistent with the teaching of the Church. It is made up of people like the same-sex “married” Dan McPherson, who serves as Director, Graduate Student Services in the Office of the Vice-Provost for Student Life. McPherson “endorse(s) views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church” every single day. It is made up of people like the openly homosexual Rev. Vincent Pizzuto, who serves as Associate Professor of New Testament in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the Director of the Catholic Studies and Social Thought minor, and the Coordinator of the Ignatian Faculty Forum. Rev. Pizzuto, originally Catholic, is also an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Pizzuto not only endorses same-sex “marriages,” he performs them.
And it is made up of people like university president Paul Fitzgerald, SJ, who “was quick to offer congratulations” the day after Ms. Azzi’s announced her “marriage.”
A Rome Charmed with Democratic Socialism?Robert Royal
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2016
An odd event is underway in the Vatican yesterday and today – odd even in this odd time for the papacy and Church. The Pontifical Council for the Social Sciences is running a conference, celebrating – perhaps – the twenty-fifth anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Centesismus Annus (1991). In that rich text, he reviewed the 100 years (hence the title) since Leo XIII inaugurated “modern” Catholic Social Teaching (CST) with a great encyclical of his own, Rerum Novarum (1891). But JPII not only looked backward; he looked forward, analyzing how – after the fall of Communism – the nations of the world should make proper use of freedom.
You might expect that the Pontifical Council would have invited people in tune with JPII, who had seen Nazism and Communism (and the vices of unfreedom) first-hand. Instead, they’ve organized something quite distressing – and perhaps telling. Our American media are buzzing because presidential candidate and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders was invited, or in some tellings, invited himself. Either way, there was some door that he opened. (In a charming dust-up, emblematic of much in the Vatican these days, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo and Margaret S. Archer, who head the Pontifical Council, have been disputing one another’s accounts.)
[Morning update: Though spokesmen said it would not happen, Pope Francis met briefly with Sanders – a strange thing to do given that we are in a bitterly contested election season – before flying to the Greek island of Lesbos this morning. They discussed refugees, climate change, and a “moral economy.”]
But all that’s just for starters. If you wanted to invite political figures, there are people like the electrician, Solidarity leader, and later Polish president Lech Walesa who helped bring down Marxism in the annus mirabilis, 1989. He’s still alive and – I can personally attest – kicking. Many in that generation have gone to their rewards; many others might have been present, living links to a proud tradition.
Instead, the Vatican invited what can only be called ideological cronies – parochial ones at that: Evo Morales, the Bolivian president who gave Pope Francis the crucifix of Christ on a Communist hammer-and-sickle cross; Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, another “democratic socialist,” like our Senator from Vermont.
And Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute and fervent promoter of population control and abortion.
Some Catholics believe that the closest approximation to CST among modern political parties is democratic socialism. This is a dangerous error. Socialism as such has been the target of CST ever since Leo XIII.
Most people think the Church opposed socialism because of ties to the ancien régime. In fact, Leo had carefully worked out positions that draw deeply on the natural-law tradition:
“The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home.” 
“[T]he main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.”
“It is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. . . .There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts.
“The socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. . . .But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.” 
There’s more, but you see the general tenor. Socialism and socialists tend to supplant family, property, even spiritual authority by misguided appeals to equality, collectivism, and above all state power.
But what of more recent incarnations of “democratic” socialism? Have they moved beyond those drawbacks? We’d have to see the full program of a specific socialist regime to judge. But generally speaking, socialism still has great, blind faith in the state, which virtually everywhere damages civil society, from the family to economics to religion. We probably don’t much notice this because our own, allegedly non-socialist, democracies are engaged in much the same sort of things.
John Paul II quoted passages like these from Rerum Novarum, and added an insight all his own: “the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil.”
Leo and JPII were also critical, though not systemically, of “liberalism” and “capitalism,” particularly if they ignore moral and spiritual values. Some of the academics speaking at this weekend’s conference – Rocco Buttiglione (a close collaborator of Wojtyla’s) and Russell Hittinger in particular – are faithful interpreters of JPII’s vision.
But the world doesn’t much notice academics. It takes cues from leaders and celebrities. The conference program talks a great deal about a “changed world” since 1991, and seems to forget both Catholic tradition and recent history. What many will take away from this event is that American socialists – North and South – have been asked to rethink the Church’s social witness and practical success against an evil system that killed 100 million people, and counting.
And that their vision of politics, economics, as well as environment and development, are the blueprint for the Catholic Church and the world in the twenty-first century.
Huge Protestant revival draws "Catholics" (LOL)
About 90,000 Christians and church leaders from across the country filled the L.A. Memorial Coliseum for the Azuza Now revival April 9. (photo/Alexandra Cooper)The following comes from an April 13 Angelus article by Jennifer Wing Atencio:
By 4 a.m., thousands were lined up at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for what may soon be called the beginning of a new wave of spiritual renewal and reconciliation of the Body of Christ in the United States.
Protestant pastor Lou Engle of “The Call” led Azuza Now, a revival marking the 110th anniversary of the Pentecostal Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles.
Throughout the day, an estimated 90,000 Christians and church leaders from across the nation joined in praise, which began at 7 a.m. and ended at 10:30 p.m. April 9.
Shalom World Media was there to broadcast the event to the Catholic world, along with God TV and other Christian media channels. “It was the first time ever that a [mostly] Protestant-Christian event would be broadcasted on Catholic television,” remarked Mark McElrath of Orange County Catholics at Work, who emceed the broadcast along with Kevin Kast of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace of the L.A. Archdiocese.
Keith Major, founder of Major Change in Steubenville, Ohio, worked in tandem with McElrath to invite Southern California Catholic leaders to the anniversary revival, which included Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of the San Gabriel Region.
Major worked with Engle’s ministry, The Call, after serving for a decade on the mission field in Russia, Poland and Middle East, establishing communities in other countries with Vineyard. The Majors reverted to Catholic-Christianity in 2010 and Keith worked for the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Now, they hope to mobilize Catholics in collaborative efforts for ministry with Protestant-Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics. In December 2015, MajorChange joined Onething 2015 conference, organized by Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri and presented the first ever Catholic Ecumenical Track during their annual Onething Conference.
Standing on stage at noon with Father Ed Benioff of the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Father Alexei Smith, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, this Charismatic-Evangelical-Catholic was given a most astounding view of the thousands in attendance and the behind-the-scenes, cross-denominational comradery.
Catholic priests and others onstage at Azuza Now. (photo: Alexandra Cooper)
The highlight of my day was when Father Ed grabbed Father Alexei to turn him around fast, 180 degrees, and raised his hands for him in blessing to the south (toward the Coliseum front gate) during a prayer for the nation, and then turned him right back around again 180 degrees, grabbing his shoulders to force him to sway and sing like a good charismatic.
Father Alexei, who is my former professor, a surfer, and an Eastern-rite, Russian Catholic pastor, turned to me and laughed whole-heartedly declaring “I like it, but it’s just not my usual style!” And this was just their warm-up.
The music quieted while the constantly boisterous crowd fell to a noticeable hush as the “men-in-black,” collared Catholic priests and their friends, who were incidentally wearing black, took center-stage. Standing with my right foot about one inch from the stage drop, I looked out on the crowd to see trepidation on faces and looks of curiosity, and even a noticeable pause of breath.
Matteo Calisi, former president of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, was introduced and began to address the crowd in Italian with Dr. Bruno Ierullo translating:
“We are a delegation, a Catholic delegation. … I come from Italy. And, I bring you a salute from 150 million Charismatic Catholics.” As the crowd cheered, Calisi then spoke to the crowd about the influence of the Asuza Street Revival on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Following these remarks, he ceremoniously laid prostrate on the stage and kissed Lou Engle’s feet in an act of reconciliatory love. “We are just in a holy moment right here,” Engle emotionally cried out. Then he continued to call out the other church elders onto the stage while he fell to his knees reciprocally kissing Matteo’s feet.
“Jesus, I thank you!” cried out Calisi while Engle kneeled before his feet, “because you are breaking the spirit of division! You are preparing a great revival in the event of this call, like you did 100 years ago. Do it again! Do it again! Holy Spirit let your Spirit come again for a billion Catholics.”
Following his prayer, Engle introduced Father Ed Benioff:
“We have a brother here who is over the effort of evangelization in this archdiocese. I want you to stretch out your hands and pray for the evangelization — the mighty evangelization of the peoples of Los Angeles.”
Father Benioff came to center stage and kneeled while praying:
“Heavenly Father, you taught us through the words of St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians that the eye cannot say to the hand ‘I do not need you.’ Nor can the head say to the foot ‘I do not need you,’ but the truth is, we all need each other,” he said.
“And Lord, we know that you want to bring revival in our world and in our nation, but we will not have revival until we have reconciliation … and as Elijah prepared Elisha and Israel for revival, first, they had to be reconciled, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons and hearts of the sons to the fathers. So, Heavenly Father, it is my prayer that going forward from this historic day, we can all forgive each other. We have to forgive each other … so I say this to every person here with absolute sincerity and authenticity — I need you.”
Then Father Benioff paraphrased the words of Jesus in John 17:21, “Father, Abba, Daddy, let them be one as you and I are one.” He continued, “So let us pray and work for unity, so the witness of Christ will be most powerful in our troubled world.”
In the conclusion of his prayer he said, “Let us make a covenant to work together as a united family in Christ, so we can have love and reconciliation in our own, Christian family. Amen.”
Pope says conscience, not dogma, must guide Catholics in family lifeVATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said Friday that Catholics should look to their own consciences more than Vatican rules to negotiate the complexities of sex, marriage and family life, demanding the church shift its emphasis from doctrine to mercy in confronting some of the thorniest issues facing the faithful.
In a major church document entitled "The Joy of Love," Francis made no explicit change in church doctrine and upheld church teaching on the lifelong bond of marriage between a man and a woman.
But in selectively citing his predecessors and emphasizing his own teachings in strategically placed footnotes, Francis made innovative openings in pastoral practice for Catholics who civilly remarry and signaled that he wants nothing short of a revolution in the way priests accompany Catholics. He said the church must no longer sit in judgment and "throw stones" at those who fail to live up to the Gospel's ideals of marriage and family life.
"I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion," he wrote. "But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness."
On thorny issues such as contraception, Francis stressed that a couple's individual conscience — not dogmatic rules imposed on them across the board — must guide their decisions and the church's pastoral practice.
"We have been called to form consciences, not replace to them," he said.
He insisted the church's aim is to reintegrate and welcome all its members. He called for a new language to help Catholic families cope with today's problems. And he said pastors must take into account mitigating factors — fear, ignorance, habits and duress — in counseling Catholics who simply aren't perfect.
"It can no longer simply be said that all those in any irregular situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace," he wrote. Even those in an "objective situation of sin" can be in a state of grace, and can even be more pleasing to God by trying to improve, he said.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, told a Vatican press conference that while there was no explicit change in church doctrine about the family, the document contained an "organic development" in church teaching.
"It's the classic case of an organic development of doctrine. There is innovation and continuity," he said. "There are true novelties in this document, but no ruptures."
The document's release marks the culmination of a divisive two-year consultation of ordinary Catholics and the church hierarchy that Francis initiated in hopes of understanding the problems facing Catholic families today and providing them with better pastoral care.
The most controversial issue that arose during two meetings of bishops, or synods, was whether Francis would loosen the Vatican's strict opposition to letting Catholics who divorce and remarry receive Communion. Church teaching holds that unless these Catholics receive an annulment, or a church decree that their first marriage was invalid, they are committing adultery and cannot receive Communion.
Conservatives had insisted that the rules were fixed and that there was no way around Christ's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Progressives had sought wiggle room to balance doctrine with mercy and look at each couple on a case-by-case basis, accompanying them on a path of reconciliation that could lead to them eventually receiving the sacraments.
Francis took a unilateral step last year and changed church law to make it easier to get an annulment. On Friday, he said the rigorous response proposed by the conservatives was inconsistent with Jesus' message of mercy.
"By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God," he said. "Let us remember that a small step in the midst of great human limitations can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties."
Francis didn't explicitly endorse the "penitential path" of bringing such civilly remarried Catholics to Communion that was advocated by leading progressives such as Cardinal Walter Kasper. But he repeated what the synod had endorsed of the need for pastors to help individual Catholics over the course of spiritual direction to ascertain what God is asking of them.
And he went further by explicitly linking such discussions of conscience with access to the sacraments.
In a footnote, Francis cited his previous document "The Joy of the Gospel" in saying that confession should not be a "torture chamber" and that the Eucharist "is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."
The Rev. James Bretzke, a Boston College theologian, said the document will give cover to and empower those priests and bishops who want to apply a broader understanding of the confidential discussions between priests and divorced and civilly remarried Catholics — a concept known as the "internal forum solution."
"He does not outlaw that, whereas John Paul II specifically outlawed (it)," he said.
But Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, a major English-language publisher of the writings of retired Pope Benedict XVI, said Francis' emphasis on conscience "doesn't mean this is a free pass to do whatever you want."
He said the document tries to navigate the difficult path of upholding church teaching while allowing the civilly remarried to participate in the life of the church.
"It's a very tricky thing," Brumley said.
In many ways the document is most significant for what it doesn't say.
While Francis frequently cited John Paul, whose papacy was characterized by a hardline insistence on doctrine and sexual morals, he did so selectively. Francis referenced certain parts of John Paul's 1981 "Familius Consortio," the guiding Vatican document on family life until Friday, but he omitted any reference to its most divisive paragraph 84, which explicitly forbids the sacraments for the divorced and civilly remarried.
In fact, Francis went further than mere omission and effectively rejected John Paul's call in that document for people in civil second marriages to live as brother and sister, abstaining from sex so they can still receive the sacraments. In a footnote, Francis said that many people offered such a solution by the church "point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of children suffer."
Similarly, in discussing the need for "responsible parenthood" and regulating the number of children, Francis made no mention of the church's opposition to artificial contraception. He squarely rejected abortion as "horrendous" and he cited the 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae," which deals with the issue.
But Francis made no mention of the "unlawful birth control methods" rejected in "Humanae Vitae." Instead he focused on the need for couples in their conscience to make decisions about their family size.
Francis made a single reference to church-sanctioned family planning method of abstaining from sex during a woman's fertile time. He said only that such practices are to be "promoted" — not that other methods are forbidden — and he insisted on the need for children to receive sex education, albeit without focusing on "safe sex."
Remarkably, the lengthy document devotes an entire chapter to love and sex in marriage — at times explicitly. Schoenborn acknowledged that Francis dared address such issues even though bishops and cardinals in two separate synods essentially ignored the question. Schoenborn suggested the celibacy of the synod fathers was perhaps to blame for the omission in their documents.
Gays will likely be disappointed by the documents' failure to offer anything significant beyond existing church teaching that gays are not to be discriminated against and are to be welcomed into the church with respect and dignity. It resoundingly rejects gay marriage and repeats the church's position that same-sex unions can in no way be equivalent to marriage between man and wife.
But women will find much to appreciate in the document. Francis condemns at length the "verbal, physical and sexual violence" many women endure in marriages, rejects "sexual submission" and the "reprehensible" practice of genital mutilation. And he says the belief that feminism is to blame for the crisis in families today is completely invalid.
Your Socialist propaganda for the week...
“Harmony, when no one is left wanting because everything is shared
At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Pope Francis said this is how Christians should live, not in a negotiated “tranquillity” that often conceals differences and divisions. “Money” is the enemy
vatican cityThere are cases where there is a seeming, negotiated, hypocritical tranquillity that is just a façade and covers up underlying differences, tensions and divisions. In a (Christian) community, however, there can be true, sincere harmony that has one ideal, common foundation, a true “heart” a true soul, that are fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is fundamental that we do not confuse these two scenarios but work towards a achieving the second. A situation is harmonious when no one is poor and goods are equally distributed so that no one is left wanting. This was Francis’ message at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House.
According to Francis, a community united in Christ is also a courageous community, Vatican Radio reports.
The Bishop of Rome pointed to the Church’s first Christians as described in the Acts of the Apostles as an example to follow.
The Pope wished to clearly define the word harmony because it is not simply about some kind of generic agreement, rather it is a gift from above for those who, like the first Christians, are reborn in the Holy Spirit: "We can negotiate some sort of peace ... but harmony is an inner grace that only the Holy Spirit can grant. And these communities lived in harmony. And there are two signs of harmony: there is no one wanting, that is, everything was shared. In what sense? They had one heart, one soul, and no one considered as his own any property that belonged to him, but everything was shared in common amongst them. None of them was ever in need.”
“The true 'harmony' of the Holy Spirit has a very strong relationship with money,” Francis said. “Money is the enemy of harmony; money is selfish”. “Proof of the first Christian community’s harmony was shown in the fact that they freely gave of their own goods “so that others would not be in need."
Reflecting on the day’s reading, Francis pointed out the virtuous example of Barnabas who sells his field and gives the proceeds to the Apostles. And in contrast, Francis cites another passage from Acts: that of Ananias and Sapphira, a couple who sell their field and pretend to give the entire proceeds to the Apostles but who in fact, keep part of the money for themselves. That lie costs them dearly; both die on the spot. God and money are two “irreconcilable” masters,” Francis stressed.
Francis warns against confusing "harmony" with "tranquillity”: "A community can be very tranquil…things are fine ... But it is not harmonious. I once heard a wise thing from a bishop: 'There is tranquillity in the diocese. But if you touch on a certain problem - this problem or that problem - war breaks out.’ This is negotiated harmony, and this is not of the Spirit. Let’s say that it’s a hypocritical harmony like that of Ananias and Saphira and what they did."
“The harmony of the Holy Spirit, he highlighted, also fortifies us with courage. “‘With great power the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favour was accorded them all:’ namely, courage. When there is harmony in the Church, in the community,” the Pope concluded, “there is courage, the courage to bear witness to the Risen Lord."