Hilarious post from Fr. Hunwicke

This reminds me of all the hurdles we had to jump through to get into the Catholic Church.  In other words, we had to believe everything the Catholic Church teaches as revealed to be true, and sign on the dotted line to that effect.  Fr. Hunwicke writes, heh heh heh.

When the first wave of Anglican priests was in preparation to be admitted to the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, we all had to go, one by one, to a Church-run centre in Manchester for ‘psychometric’ evaluation.

During one of my interviews, the clergyman interviewing me asked whether there was any part of the Church’s teaching that I had difficulty with. Bishop Newton had very strongly advised us all to be totally honest, so I said “Well, there is something. I have no trouble accepting it theoretically, but I do have problems internalising it, feeling it. To tell you the truth, I feel a little embarrassed mentioning this … “

“Out with it”, he invited, looking interested. So I explained.

“Particularly when I’m in a big, bustling crowd, I look at all those faces, all apparently with their own preoccupations, everybody pushing everybody else, and I get Big Doubts. I wonder if it really can be true that God has an individual and salvific and interlocking plan for each and every one of them. I know, intellectually, that He does … but …. well ….. particularly in the London rush hour ……”

“No no no”, he replied, perhaps a trifle impatiently. All interest had now faded from his face. “I meant Sex”.

It became clear that the process of ‘evaluation’ had little interest in grilling us to check that we were not closet Monothelites, or a bit dodgy on the question of Usury, but a great concern about our complete conformity to the Church’s official teaching on all matters sexual.

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Safe at home in Ottawa

To my readers who are hearing the horrific news from Ottawa, a message to let you know I am home and safe.

However, the very halls were the shootings took place are where I work when I’m on Parliament Hill, so I thank God I was not there today.

This could have been a bloodbath, because the caucuses of the two main political parties meet in rooms on either side of the Hall of Honor, that you will see in news footage.



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Fr. Phillips has a timely post on Papal Infallibility

At the Atonement website, he writes:

Amongst the Catholic doctrines most troublesome to many Protestants (and many Orthodox, too) is that of papal infallibility. Perhaps it conjures up visions of flabella and the sedia gestatoria, or a not-so-subtle Vatican form of mind control, or even an abuse of our valued freedom of conscience.

Actually, it’s a rather straightforward sign of God’s love for His Church.

First of all, papal infallibility is not to be confused with impeccability. Most people understand this, but there are some who think Catholics are supposed to believe that the Pope cannot sin. Infallibility has nothing to do with the absence of sin. It’s a charism – a gift – which God imparts. Although it is rightly referred to as “papal infallibility,” nonetheless it is something shared with the whole body of Catholic bishops. Although they do not have this charism individually, they do exercise the gift when they teach in doctrinal unity with the Successor of St. Peter. This is defined in Lumen Gentium, n. 25:

Despite the myths held by some, the Pope doesn’t wake up in the morning and think to himself, “I think I shall proclaim something infallibly today,” nor are Catholics inhabitants of an ecclesiastical Wonderland in which they are required to believe “six impossible things before breakfast.”


It takes no great leap of faith to accept the fact that the God who created the universe and raises the dead, would also ensure that His children are given the truth. That He protects His Vicar on earth from solemnly defining something as true, if it’s really false, not only harmonizes with Scripture, but it is reflected in the unbroken history of the Church. We should derive great comfort from the doctrine of infallibility, because it’s a beautiful act of God’s divine love.

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Michael Voris on the Holy Father

After the first Scalfari interview, I was angry with Pope Francis, and found myself tempted to allowing a critical spirit about him.  The next thing I noticed was how quickly I began to lose the fruits of the Spirit in my life.

I recognized that I needed to get back under the Pope’s spiritual headship, under his authority as the Holy Father and thankfully, the love, joy and peace returned.  This is not to say I have not had concerns about the synod, especially the mid-term report, though I am relieved by the final document and the Pope’s closing remarks.   This is an exhortation to trust in the charism of Peter and the protection the Holy Spirit guarantees the Church.

After the synod, I see many of my friends experiencing huge doubts about the Pope and with that the temptations to judgment, anger, dismay that come with that.   One can have one’s eyes open to things, still choose to love and give the benefit of a doubt and to pray.  Once you allow a critical spirit, a judgmental spirit, contempt, dismay and so on to take hold, one does not see clearly any more, even concerning what to pray for or against.

I also see a rise in factionalism, as if we are involved in a political battle.   I pray for myself to rise above partisanship and for an ever deeper conversion to Jesus Christ and for reconciliation and unity in the Body of Christ   I think this is what Pope Francis is calling us to, if I’m reading his closing address properly.   And don’t worry.  The Church’s teaching is not going to change.  It can’t change.

In that vein, I think this video of Michael Voris’ is important:

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Pope Francis’ homily today

I had a wonderful, grace-filled day, that included a visit with a friend that blessed me immensely, Mass at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which Fr. Kipling gave an amazing homily, then home to find these words of Pope  Francis’ on the same readings.

From Vatican Radio.  (with a h/t to Fr. Tom Rosica, who sends around to media a most helpful email alerting us to these)

What Christ came to do – he explained – was to give us citizenship, a belonging to the people, a name and a surname. So from being enemies without peace – he said –  Christ has turned us into one by his blood, breaking down the walls that divide.

“We all know that when we are not in peace with others, there is a wall. There is a wall that divides us. But Jesus offers us his service to break down this wall so we can meet. And if we are divided, we are not friends: we are enemies. And he has reconciled us all in God. He has reconciled us as friends, as enemies, as strangers, as sons and daughters.”

From simply being people in the street, people who were not even guests – Pope Francis said – to being “fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God”. This is what God created with his coming. But what are His conditions? – the Pope asked – “they are to await Him, like servants awaiting their master.”

“Waiting for Jesus. He who does not await Jesus, who closes his door to Jesus, does not allow him to go forward with his work of peace, of community, of citizenship. And he does more: he gives us a name. He renders us children of God. We need to adopt an attitude that contains Christian hope. A Christian is a man or a woman of hope. He or she knows the Lord will come. We do not know when, we do not know at what time, but He will come and He must not find us divided. He must find us as He rendered us with His service: friends living in peace.”  

At this point – Pope Francis concluded – there is another question a Christian must ask himself: how do I await Jesus? And first: “shall I wait for Him or not?”:

“Do I have faith in this hope that He will come? Is my heart open to hear Him knocking on the door, to hear Him entering the door?  A Christian is a man or a woman who knows how to await Jesus. He or she is a person of hope. Instead a pagan –and so often we Christians behave like pagans – forgets Jesus, thinks of himself, does not await Jesus. The selfish pagan behaves if he himself was a god: ‘I make do on my own’. And he does not end up well, he ends up without a name, without closeness, without citizenship”.

It’s been as if God is speaking to me through all these people and of course the Scripture readings for hours and I am thankful.

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Great editorial at the Catholic Herald

We would like to offer another metaphor: the synod’s final report is like an unfinished icon. During their two-week meeting the synod fathers did little more than paint the gold background. They have yet to begin the hardest part: drawing a portrait of Jesus that speaks to a contemporary world that has all but forgotten him. Icon painters say that prayer is essential to their work, and so the bishops have paused for a year of reflection, before meeting again for the second, larger family synod. We, too, should be praying that the synod fathers create a compelling image of Christ. For it is all too easy to unconsciously adopt the sporting metaphor, cheering on our respective side as if the synod is little more than an entertaining, inter-tribal game.

Anyone who doubts the bishops’ ability to complete the icon should read the full final synod report for themselves, rather than relying on commentaries. (Unhelpfully, the Vatican did not release an official English translation immediately, but it should appear on its website this week.) The final text is much more deeply rooted in Scripture than the controversial “mid-term” report, but is still unmistakably a document of the Pope Francis era, expressing the same urgent desire to welcome all into the loving arms of the Father.
An unfinished icon can look slightly alarming. But we should be confident that God will answer our prayers and that, when the image is finally completed, the people of our time – our friends and neighbours – will see a radiant portrait of Christ that cannot leave them unmoved.

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John Zmirak on the Synod

This guy can write. Very interesting observations.  Thankfully the final synod message and the Pope’s message at the end were reassuring, though I do agree the mid-term synod relatio sure did read like an Episcopalian document.  Church teaching is not going to change.  The Pope will not allow that to happen.

How we wish that the universe worked Synod-style, that its Creator answered our whims like an obsequious restaurant waiter angling for tips. Wouldn’t it be pleasant if God looked on our sins and saw only the gifts which He gave us, instead of the miserable ways that we use them? Like a child who stuffs his brand new Lego blocks down the throat of the family dog, we’re surprised by praise for our endeavor’s “positive elements.” Were God like the leading Synod fathers — that is, a senile grandfather in heaven — he would nod and tell us: “That’s quite an obedient dog. And those Lego blocks are shiny. Look how very many of them you have managed to fit inside of Fido. What an energetic boy!”

I am sick at heart, like millions of Catholics, to hear shepherds of our Church fall over themselves to sound like liberal Episcopalians. We know from recent history precisely where this leads: To gapingly empty churches, ecumenical services with Islamists — and gatherings like the Anglican synod some years ago, where an openly gay bishop squirmed in his shoes, as an old-fashioned Christian prelate from Africa accosted him and prayed over him to drive out the “demon of sodomy.” Well, the Synod has many sessions left to run. Plenty of time for the faithful remnant to dust off their exorcism kits.



Vatican I rules out any attempts, even by a council, to depose or overrule a pope. Anyway, Christ’s promise to Peter cannot amount to a crass tautology such as “The pope is infallible … until he makes a mistake. Then he isn’t pope anymore.” We may be saved through the eye of a needle, but not through the chink of a loophole. If Pope Francis demolishes marriage, he destroys the throne that he sits on. Future popes might claim to be the “Vicar of Christ.” But then, Queen Elizabeth claims to be the “Defender of the Faith.” We all know how much that means.

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Fr. Longenecker further reflects on the synod

I love this part:

Voices of calm chime in and speak words of peace in the midst of the tremors. “Take a deep breath. This is the way the church works. Since the beginning we have struggled and fought. It is through this kind of conflict that a resolution is found. All we are seeing here is the Holy Spirit at work: Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. Out of the chaos comes creation. Trust the Holy Spirit. The wheat and tares grow together. The sheep and goats are in the same flock. it has ever been so. Have faith. God is in charge. Pray more and see things positively!”

All of that is true, and that is the line I am inclined to take. I remember the words of the mystic Julian of Norwich, “He did not say we would not be tempest tossed, but he did say we would not be overcome. All shall be well.”

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The Anchoress weighs in on the Kasper/Pentin controversy

The editor of the Catholic portal at Patheos is not the only one with astonished eyes trained on this story:

So, Kasper seeks mercy and makes his apology. For all its parsing, I believe him; we all sometimes speak in ways that do not precisely convey our meaning. I believe he’s sorry, if something he said caused an upsetment amid this brother bishops.

No apology to (or “artful charity” offered, either) to the journalist Edward Pentin, the writer who dared to print Kasper’s words (peripherally) and would have found his career in utter ruins after the Cardinal’s strenuous denials, had he not produced a clear recording.

For Pentin — and seemingly a few others — there is only wrath and a thirst for “justice” that runs along some troublingly paranoid and vengeful lines.

Another comment made by Cardinal Kasper in speaking with Kath.net is quite breathtaking: he talked again about a “deliberate dirty trick” to denounce him. “The fact that Catholic media (and unfortunately a cardinal in person) should participate in it, in order to tear down another position morally, is shameful,” Kasper opined. WhenKath.net asked as a follow-up question who that cardinal was, Kasper unfortunately gave no answer. The retired Curial Cardinal announced, however, that “other journalists” are going to take action against such “undignified machinations”.

Der emeritierte Kurienkardinal kündigte aber an, dass „andere Journalisten“ gegen solche „unwürdigen Machenschaften“ vorgehen werden. . .Dass sich daran katholische Medien (leider auch ein leibhaftiger Kardinal) beteiligen, um eine andere Position moralisch niederzumachen, ist beschämend“, meinte Kasper

Holy smokes, your Eminence! Are you suggesting that Edward Pentin, while asking you about your position regarding Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, somehowtricked you into bringing up the African bishops, so that he could then bury those remarks within the depths of the interview? And that he did this at the behest of Cardinal Burke?

Primo: Cut that out Cardinal, bitte, bitte; it sounds really paranoid and also impossible. On the tape and in the interview it’s clear that no one made a game of getting you to remark about the African bishops.

Secondo: Exactly which “other journalists” within Catholic media are going to act as your henchmen, going after either other Cardinals or other writers?

This does not sound good. You are not handling any part of this situation half as well as Burke seems to be handling the “demotion” that I still think could have profound purposes, should Burke and Francis want that.

The other day someone said we should “stop writing about Kasper.” Well, why? He’s a noted theologian and Prince of the Church who keeps saying notable things. In the presence of journalists. Who write this stuff down, or record it and then write it up.

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No change in Church teaching coming from Pope Francis

Paul Bois writes at Truth Revolt:

The Catholic Church under Pope Francis will not capitulate on the issue of same-sex marriage nor will it change its teaching on homosexual acts. It won’t happen-end of story.

The Catholic Church spans all seven continents with an estimated congregation of 1.2 billion people in virtually every country. While the Catholic Church has lost its prominence in the West due to cultural acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, it compensates with growing congregations in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Homosexuality and gay marriage are met in those cultures with a resounding “no,” and that also includes majorities in Central and South America.

Even if Francis were the most pro-gay Pontiff in all of history, for him to suddenly declare homosexual acts no longer sinful and endorse gay “marriage” would essentially mean that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all 265 of his predecessors, nearly 2,000 years of church tradition, and the Holy Bible itself got it completely wrong. The results would be schisms that would make the Protestant Reformation look like a family reunion, leaving the church in ruin.

While Pope Francis has certainly presented a much friendlier face with regard to these issues, his past record as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he opposed all legislation allowing gay couples to adopt and marry, cautioning that it would “seriously damage the family” and deprive children of “their development given by a father and a mother” that constitutes a “total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts” clearly indicates his stance on this issue. Even in the interview where he uttered his famous “who am I to judge?” catch-phrase regarding celibate homosexual priests, he also condemned “lobbying by this orientation” and affirmed the Catechism.

Pope Francis has only one vision for the Catholic Church: a church of shepherds, not sheep; of pastors, not clergy; of teachers, not scholars. He wants a Catholic Church that reaches out and changes people’s hearts rather than hunkering behind a fortress while the secular world encircles it on all fronts. He has no desire to change doctrine, and the previous synod, wildly misreported by the media, reflected that.

Even in the disastrous Relatio Post Disceptationem, the infamous synod mid-term report that called for “welcoming homosexuals” and said “homosexuals have gifts to offer the church,” church doctrines were affirmed and marriage remained between a man and a woman. As stated by the consistently conservative Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute in The Wall Street Journal last week, the mid-term report most likely the reflected the views of its author, known progressive Archbishop Bruno Forte, and not the synod fathers.

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