Category Archives: Catholic

Doctrinal “development”

The Society’s response to the Pope’s doctrinal “development”:

https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/no-death-doctrinal-crisis-40132

Earlier this month, on August 2, 2018, an amendment to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) was published. The text, which purports to represent a “development” of the Church’s doctrine on the death penalty (capital punishment), was approved by Pope Francis on May 18, 2018.

Although liberal and some conservative Catholic commentators, theologians, and clerics have leapt at the opportunity to defend this “clarification” or “development,” the hard truth is that this new catechetical text appears to represent another in a series of ruptures with Tradition that has been a hallmark of Francis’s pontificate.

The New Text

The English-language translation of CCC No. 2267 now reads as follows:

The Death Penalty

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,1 and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

A Closer Look

The first thing that will strike any reader of CCC No. 2267 is its apodictic decree “that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’” and that the only support for this statement is from an address given by Pope Francis himself. This is not surprising since neither Francis nor the theologians housed at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would be able to find firm magisterial support for this bold new position anywhere else. Even Francis’s near-immediate predecessor, John Paul II, who was an outspoken critic of the death penalty, never altered the CCC to teach that this form of punishment is “inadmissible.”

Second, the integration of the contestable concept of the “dignity of the person” (human dignity) is once again being used as an excuse to change doctrinal course. Less than a century ago, Pius XII declared that, “Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life” (Address to the First International Congress of Histopathology of the Nervous System (September 12, 1952). It is the individual who committed the crime, not the State, who has forfeited his “right to life”; now, under the guise of “human dignity,” apparently no man may do so, even of his own free volition.

Last, the next of CCC No. 2267 disrupts the continuity of the Church’s magisterium, as can be seen from two startling examples. Take first, for instance, the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, pt. III, 5, n. 4:

Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thou shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives.

Next, look to the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, for his well-reasoned teaching on the admissibility of the death penalty in Summa Thelogiae, II, II, q. 64, art. 2:

Now every individual person is related to the entire society as a part to the whole. Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since ‘a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump’ (1 Cor. 5:6).

Indeed, the death penalty may ultimately be for the good of the criminal’s soul (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, ch. 146):

They…have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.

Implications beyond the Death Penalty Debate

Without ignoring the fact that there exists in the United States and throughout the world serious concerns over how the death penalty is administered and under which circumstances, the next text of CCC No. 2267 has larger implications. If the authorities in Rome can so boldly reverse what, for nearly two millennia, was a settled teaching, what else is subject to “development”? Is there a single statement contained in the CCC that cannot be revised in the “light of the Gospel,” a light now refracted through the prism of Modernism?

Equally crucial is the sense now given to the People of God that little which the Church teaches can be considered indefectible. Rather than being the “pillar and ground of the Truth,” the Church now appears for many to be a social organ whose promulgations and positions shift with the political winds. Not wishing to be out of step with the world, Catholicism comes across as increasingly mutable and her doctrines time-bound. Prior to the last century, did any Catholic prelate ever teach such a thing? Did anyone except the Church’s most virulent critics ever presume to hold that she is a historically contingent institution that self-consciously pronounces doctrines that can be gutted and revised so carelessly?

The doctrinal crisis in the Church continues and once again Pope Francis recklessly perpetuates it.

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An encouraging story

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An encouraging story of one young lady who found Truth & accepted Him.

https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/mission-philippines-%E2%80%9Cwhy-so-many-wounds%E2%80%9D-39872

FSSPX.News offers its readers this story of a young girl – a second, 21st-century Josephine Bakhita in the making – who found refuge at the SSPX mission in the province of Sarangani and is now asking to be baptized.

Yet another miracle in this mission on the other side of the world that is only kept alive by the generosity of its benefactors:

Not everyone meets her older sister for the first time in her life and immediately decides to follow her although she is a complete stranger, but Mary Ann had no choice, for the young girl was no longer safe in the house where she had been placed, because of an ill-intentioned neighbor who continued to stalk her.

When she came to the mission, Mary Ann was very quiet. Her usual answer to simple questions was a smile, nothing more – a smile that hid worlds of suffering.

Four weeks later, on the first Friday of July 2018, Mary Ann helped clean the chapel. As she was dusting the pews and the little statues near the communion rail, her eyes were mysteriously drawn to the image of Christ on the Cross above the altar.

As soon as she was done cleaning, Mary Ann went to see the catechists with a pressing question: “Who is that suffering man and why does he have so many wounds?” She wanted an answer. Her silence was finally broken.

Mary Ann then told her whole story: her childhood in a faraway mountain village, a violent alcoholic father, how she was abandoned to the local Communist guerilla that brought her up.

Then the following years, the repeated attempts to intimidate her at school, a tutor who was too busy to take care of her. At the age of eleven, she still did not know how to read.

Her mother, who had abandoned her against her will when the Communist guerilla attacked, began to come to the SSPX mission in 2008 along with her brothers and sisters. The sad woman often mentioned a daughter she had had to leave behind; she often thought of going back to find her but died before she was able to do so.

When Mary Ann’s older sister did everything in her power to find her and bring her to the mission, the catechists saw that she had a thyroid problem.

To help her subscribe to a health insurance, the mission had to start by getting her a birth certificate. Isolated mountains had to be crossed in search of the girl’s father, so he could sign her birth certificate, all in vain, for he refused, disowning Mary Ann one last time in a way.

Since then, Mary Ann and her sister have often come to the attorney’s office to ask for help. Her sister is still only 17 years old, a year less than the legal age when she will be able to get her own health insurance for herself and her younger sister.

In August 2018, Mary Ann is living in peace with her older sister in the mission’s dormitory. She is learning to know the God Who suffered for her, and to understand that her soul’s wounds can be healed by the One Who died on the Cross so that she could have life.

Raising her eyes to Heaven, Mary Ann recently asked for the first time, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”

Pious zeal

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Be zealous, but always with love.

“But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. ‘For the Lord is not in the earthquake’ (III Kings xix., II) – it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: ‘Accuse, beseech, rebuke,’ but he took care to add: ‘with all patience’ (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. ‘Come to me,’ we find Him saying, ‘come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you’ (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: ‘I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax’ (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, ‘patient and kind’ (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. ‘We are reviled,’ thus did St. Paul protest, ‘and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat’ (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.).”   ~Pope St. Pius X –  “E Supremi”

“No sacrifice is more acceptable to God than zeal for souls.” ~Pope St. Gregory the Great
Prayer for the Propagation of Faith and Piety

Eternal Father, by Thy infinite mercy and by the infinite merits of thy divine Son Jesus, make Thyself known and loved by all souls, since it is Thy will that all should be saved. Gloria Patri.

Through the sacred mysteries of human redemption send, O Lord, laborers into thy harvest, and spare Thy people. Eternal Word incarnate, Redeemer of the human race, convert all souls to Thyself, since for them Thou wast obedient even to the death of the Cross. Gloria Patri.

Through the merits and intercession of Thy most holy Mother, and of all the Angels and Saints, send, O Lord, labourers into thy harvest, and spare thy people.

O Holy Spirit of God, by the infinite merits of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, diffuse Thy most ardent and all-powerful charity in all hearts, that there may be one Fold and one Shepherd throughout the world, and that all may come to sing thy divine mercies in Heaven for ever. Amen. Gloria Patri.

Queen of Apostles, and all ye Angels and Saints, pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest and spare his people, that we may all rejoice with Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Immaculate Mother of God, Queen of Apostles, I know that the divine precept, by which I am bound to love my neighbor as myself, obliges me to procure by every possible means not only my eternal salvation, but also that of my neighbor. But I confess that through my sins I am not worthy of the grace to labor effectually and constantly for the eternal salvation of my soul and of the souls of my relations and neighbors; much less am I worthy of the grace to promote good works and increase the means, both spiritual and temporal, of restoring Faith and rekindling charity among Catholics, and propagating the truth throughout the world.

Do thou then, O Mother, obtain for me this grace through the mercy of God and the infinite merits of Jesus Christ; and in union with the heavenly court and all the just, who are or will be in the Church of God, from henceforth I intend to offer these same merits of Jesus as a thanksgiving in anticipation of this grace obtained by thee for us and for all, as thou didst obtain it for the holy Apostles.

And so, I, N.N., trusting in thy powerful intercession, resolve from henceforth to use whatever I have from God of power, talents, learning, riches, position, health, sickness or sorrow, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of my soul, and that of my neighbor, more especially by working for the propagation of piety and the holy faith throughout the world. And when all other means to this end fail me, I will never cease to pray, that there may be one Fold and one Shepherd. By so doing I hope to reach paradise, there to enjoy the fruit of the Apostolate of Jesus Christ for all eternity. Amen.

Ave Maria thrice, Gloria Patri once.

 

 

Litany of the Precious Blood

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July is traditionally known as the Month of the Precious Blood of Jesus. One drop of that Precious Blood would have purchased our salvation, but to demonstrate his great & abiding love for us, he shed every last drop of His Blood, Most bitterly tormented & scourged. Make reparation.

The litany of the Precious Blood:

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, save us.

Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God, save us.

Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.

Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony, save us.

Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us.

Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us.

Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.

Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us.

Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us.

Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us.

Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us.

Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.

Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us.

Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us.

Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us.

Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us. 

Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.

Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us.

Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.

Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us. 

Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us.

Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.

Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us.

Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. 

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. You have redeemed us, O Lord, in Your Blood.

R. And made us a kingdom for our God.

Let us Pray:

V. Almighty and eternal God, You have appointed Your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

 

The angel of the trenches

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The following is the little known story of the brave and heroic American military chaplain of World War I:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/memoriam-priest-who-became-angel-trenches-37169

Just one-hundred years ago, an American military chaplain was given the nickname “Angel of the Trenches” in Apremont-la-Forêt, after several heroic acts.

Joao Baptista DeValles was born in 1879 in Saint Miquel in the Azores. At the age of 2 his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. His first name anglicized to John, he quickly proved himself a brilliant student, eventually being fluent in six languages. Ordained a priest in 1906, he served at Falls River at Espirito Santo Church, founding the first Portuguese language parochial school in the United States while he was there. He later served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New Bedford and was pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church, also in New Bedford.

A Heroic Military Chaplain

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and entered the fray in Europe. Fr. John De Valles joined the Army as a chaplain, serving with the 104th regiment, a Massachusetts National Guard outfit, part of the Yankee (26th) Division, made up of National Guard units from New England. The Yankee Division arrived in France in September 1917.

The 104th was on the front lines in all of the major campaigns of the American Expeditionary Force. For heroic fighting at Bois Brule (Burnt Woods) in Apremont, outside of Saint-Mihiel, in April, 1918, the French government awarded the regiment a collective Croix de Guerre, an unprecedented honor for an American military unit.

There were quite a few very brave men in the 104th, and among the bravest of the brave was Chaplain DeValles. For his heroism in rescuing wounded, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor in the United States Army. Created on January 2, 1918, this decoration rewards acts of heroism “so notable and involving a risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.”

 

The Text of the Citation

104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F. Date of Action: April 10 – 13, 1918 Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John B. De Valles, Chaplain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Apremont, Toul sector, France, April 10 to 13, 1918. Chaplain De Valles repeatedly exposed himself to heavy artillery and machine-gun fire in order to assist in the removal of the wounded from exposed points in advance of the lines. He worked for long periods of time with stretcher bearers in carrying wounded men to safety. Chaplain De Valles previously rendered gallant service in the Chemin des Dames sector, March 11, 1918, by remaining with a group of wounded during a heavy enemy bombardment. General Orders No. No. 35, W.D., 1920

Angel of the Trenches

One of the many horrors of the trench warfare of World War I, was the plight of wounded soldiers trapped in No Man’s Land. Night after night Father DeValles would go out to rescue Allied and German wounded, risking his life to save theirs. After one such mission he was found the next day wounded and unconscious next to a dead soldier he had been trying to aid. The newspapers began to refer to him as the Angel of the Trenches.

The French government recognized his heroism with the Croix de Guerre and membership in the Legion of Honor.

Close to His Men

He was known to the men of the 104th as Father John. For his courage and good humor he was popular with his fellow soldiers. He would routinely make “loans” to the men of the 104th who needed assistance, after making certain that the money would not be used for immoral purposes. He recorded the “loans” meticulously, but when Pay Day rolled around, he would invariably tell his orderly to rip out the page of his journal containing the “loan” record.

Father DeValles’ life was brief after his service in World War I. His health had been wrecked by his wounds during the War, and especially by the mustard gas he had breathed in. He died on May 12, 1920 at age 41, a few hours before his Distinguished Service Cross arrived. But earthly decorations are nothing compared to Heaven’s reward. All of New Bedford mourned his passing.

Source: The American Catholic / FSSPX.News – 4/19/2018

Our Lord’s words on His Incarnation

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The words of Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden, on the mystery of the incarnation and the descration & rejection of the Faith.

“I am the Creator of the heavens and the earth, one in Divinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. I am the one who spoke to the patriarchs and the prophets and the one whom they awaited. For the sake of their longing and in agreement with my promise, I assumed flesh without sin and concupiscence, by entering the womb of the Virgin like the sun shining through the clearest gem. For just as the sun does not damage the glass by entering it, likewise the virginity of the Virgin was not lost when I assumed Manhood. I assumed flesh in such a way that I did not have to forsake my Divinity, and I was no less God – with the Father and the Holy Spirit, governing and upholding all things – although I was in the womb of the Virgin in my human nature. Just as brightness is never separated from fire, so too, my Divinity was never separated from my Humanity, not even in death.

Thereafter I allowed my pure and sinless body to be wounded from the foot to the head, and to be crucified for all the sins of mankind. That same body is now offered each day on the altar so that mankind might love me more and remember my great deeds more often. But now I am totally forgotten, neglected, despised, and expelled as a king is from his own kingdom and in whose place the most wicked robber has been elected and honored.

I have indeed wanted my kingdom to be within man, and by right I should be King and Lord over him, for I made him and redeemed him. However, now he has broken and desecrated the faith which he promised me in his baptism, and he has broken and spurned my laws and commandments which I prescribed and revealed to him. He loves his own will and refuses to hear me. In addition, he exalts the most wicked robber, the devil, above me and has given him his faith. The devil really is a robber, since he steals for himself, by way of evil temptations, bad councils, and false promises, the human soul that I redeemed with my blood. But he does not do this because he is mightier than me; for I am so mighty that I can do all things with a word, and so just, that even if all the saints asked me, I would not do the least thing against justice.

But, since man, who has been given free will, willfully rejects my commandments and obeys the devil, it is only right that he also experiences his tyranny and malice. This devil was created good by me, but fell by his own wicked will, and has become, so to speak, my servant for inflicting vengeance on the workers of evil.

Yet, even though I am now so despised, I am still so merciful that whoever prays for my mercy and humbles himself in amendment shall be forgiven his sins, and I shall save him from the evil robber – the devil. But to those who continue despising me, I shall visit my justice upon them, so that those hearing it will tremble, and those who feel it will say: “Woe, that we were ever conceived or born! Woe, that we ever provoked the Lord of majesty to wrath!”

But you, my daughter, whom I have chosen for myself, and with whom I now speak in spirit: love me with all your heart – not as you love your son or daughter or parents, but more than anything in the world – since I, who created you, did not spare any of my limbs in suffering for your sake! Yet, I love your soul so dearly that, rather than losing you, I would let myself be crucified again, if it were possible. Imitate my humility; for I, the King of glory and of angels, was clothed in ugly, wretched rags and stood naked at the pillar and heard all kinds of insults and ridicule with my own ears. Always prefer my will before your own, because my Mother, your Lady, has, from the beginning to the end, never wanted anything but what I wanted.

If you do this, then your heart shall be with my heart, and it will be inflamed by my love in the same way that anything dry becomes rapidly inflamed by fire. Your soul shall be so inflamed and filled with me, and I will be in you, so that everything worldly becomes bitter to you and all fleshly lusts like poison. You will rest in the arms of my Divinity, where no fleshly desires exist, but only spiritual delight and joy which fill the delighted soul with happiness – inwardly and outwardly – so that it thinks of nothing and desires nothing but the joy which it possesses. So love me alone, and you will have all the things you want, and you will have them in abundance. Is it not written that the oil of the widow did not decrease until the day the rain was sent to earth by God according to the words of the prophet? I am the true prophet! If you believe my words and follow and fulfill them, the oil – joy and jubilation – shall never decrease for you for all eternity.”

World’s smallest Catholic church

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A nice story of a little known church – the smallest parish in the world.

https://aleteia.org/2018/04/16/the-worlds-smallest-catholic-church-is-in-texas/

The sign outside St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Warrenton, Texas, is meant to catch the eye of visitors taking leisurely drives down rural Route 237, halfway between Austin and Houston: “HISTORICAL, WORLD’S SMALLEST CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST. MARTIN’S, VISITORS WELCOME.”
Without the sign, a passerby might mistake the tiny church for a shed or child’s playhouse, as Gerald McLeod notes in his article about the church in the Austin Chronicle.

“We get lots of people asking about the history of the church,” Mary Leitko with the Round Top Chamber of Commerce told the Austin Chronicle. “It’s quite a local tourist attraction.”

Mass is celebrated once a month (“for the intentions left at the altar”) in the 12-foot by 16-foot church, which has barely enough room for six rows of pews to seat 20 people. Members of the parish can attend two other, much larger churches in nearby Fayetteville.
According to a history of the church, McLeod notes that there was once a larger church by the same name where the tiny one stands. In 1915, when the population shifted to the cities, the church became less necessary, and the original St. Martin’s was dismantled in order to use the wood to build a school in Fayetteville.
According to the article in the Austin Chronicle, the parishioners used leftover wood salvaged from the school project to build the little church overlooking the original St. Martin’s church cemetery.

When the school was finally demolished in 1968, many of the original church fixtures were transferred to the chapel, including the altar, the church bell, statues, and an oil painting of St. Martin.