Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Synod 2014-15’

Sweeping up after the Synod and the Pope’s US Visit

November 3rd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

LifeSiteNews continues to do an outstanding reporting job (Let’s think about sending them a contribution, please!):

While the last subject isn’t about the Synod per se, nevertheless it is handled (or manhandled as the case may be) by some of the same clergy responsible for architecting Synod news.  And the mechanism is especially transparent. There is a very — very — small circle around Pope Francis to translate and approve what the English versions say.  In some ways, he may even be like the alleged “Prisoner of the Vatican” (Pius IX), not with troops, but without language.  The inner circle can function more as a noose, make him look good or bad, wise or not, and filter the Synod news as well as travel news and even encyclicals.  It is a fair question to wonder who pulls the puppet strings, if there are any?  And how would we ever know?


Light a Candle for the Synod

October 3rd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris
Torchlight Procession in Lourdes

Torchlight Procession in Lourdes

We haven’t had a ‘Light a Candle’ blogpost in a while, but the opening of the Synod is certainly a good time to do so.  It is opening with prelates like Cardinals Daneels, Kasper, and Marx lurking in the shadows and threatening Catholic doctrine.  With clergy like that inside the Church, faithful Catholics are likely to be more attuned this time to what is really going on.  But even if the tricks of the prior Synod session aren’t used again, we might still expect new, non-transparent moves by the father of lies, who doesn’t give up easily.  As always, we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and calling to mind crucial and relevant Scripture is a solid foundation upon which to rest our prayers:

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’”  Matthew 16:15-19 (NAB)

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26 (RSV)

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.'”  Matthew 28: 18-20 (RSV)

The next step is to keep as informed, as promptly, as possible.  Nobody can stay on top of it all, so sharing what we find is important.  Please add comments as we go through these next few weeks!  Now here are some of the recent stories which may be relevant and useful background:

Swiss bishops confirm existence of Cardinal Daneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI:

Why we fear the Ordinary Synod on the Family is being manipulated:

Vatican Fires Gay Priest on Eve of the Synod:

Polish Bishops say 2014 Synod Trivialized essential Church Teachings; hope to avoid repeat

German bishops release new book about the controversial ‘Shadow Council’ in Rome:

Softening Christ’s Teaching on Marriage is Heresy, African Cardinal tells World Meeting of Families

Catholic doctrine on homosexuality tantamount to ‘societal heresy’ Cardinal Pell says: but it must be proclaimed:

Status Report Day 2


Pope’s Homily Day 3


Day 4: What is level of trust in Fr. Rosica?


Day 5: ‘Flawed, Inadequate’: Synod Bishops Skewer Working Document


Day 8: Did Cardinal Dolan write to the Pope about lack of Synod openness?

Mercy to the Repentant!

No New Patches on Old Wineskins!

Invoking the Intercession of St. Tarcisius for the Synod

March 21st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Nearly 4 years ago I wrote on Cleansing Fire about St. Tarcisius , but it seems timely to do so again, especially leading up to the Synod, where the Holy Eucharist is being targeted for abuse.  This time the wild beasts in the arena are not lions and tigers, but those who don’t believe in the Real Presence (else how can they advocate what they do?), or who see giving His Precious Body away to those whom Christ called adulterers is a fair trade for the modern 30 pieces of silver in government funding (Germany, e.g.), or who simply don’t have even the faith of a child to defend against the sacrilege.  

How ironic it should be that all is again happening in Rome!  How ironic that it should be coming from within the Church, with secularity, modernity and avarice being the concubines uniting themselves to the wayward prelates.  It is indeed becoming clearer what Christ meant when he asked in Luke 18:8: “… when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”  And how He promised (in Matthew 24:22):  “… if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”   St. Tarcisius, PRAY FOR US!  

St. Tarcisius, Boy Martyr

Statue of St. Tarcisius by Alexandre Falguière at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Statue of St. Tarcisius by Alexandre Falguière at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Long, long ago, when Catholic Schools were run primarily by religious orders and it was unusual to find even a lay teacher, every student learned the story of St. Tarcisius.  It was one of the stories in the second grade reader, and produced much discussion in the classroom.  What would each of us be willing to do for the sake of the Eucharist?  It was an apt question for second graders who were about to embark on their First Communion.

I was always enthralled by the story of Tarcisius; so much so that I wanted to take his name in Confirmation in 5th grade.  But the good sisters squelched that as inappropriate; so I obeyed them, and probably avoided scandalizing that Bishop!

In recent years, when I mention Tarcisius to faithful Catholics, most seem unfamiliar with the boy saint.  It is a shame, because he inspired many generations of young people.  Perhaps because his Feast Day in the Roman Martyrology is the same day as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tarcisius is passed over in memorials. However, one would think that he is grateful to have reserved the place on the calendar, waiting to cede the major recognition to Our Holy Mother in the 6th century.

Tarcisius is said to have been about 12 years old, and to have lived in the third century.  What little is known of him comes from a poem composed by Pope Damasus I, about a century later.  As the story in the primary readers recounted, Tarcisius one day was carrying the Holy Eucharist to prisoners awaiting martyrdom under Valerian.  Instead of a priest, he went because he was less recognizable.  He was accosted by a gang of youths who wanted whatever he was carrying so close to his heart.  When he would not surrender the Blessed Sacrament, he was beaten to death, or perhaps stoned, as the poem refers also to St. Stephen.

Legend is, that in spite of killing Tarcisius, those thugs were unable to pry open his hands to get control of the Body of Christ.  Only later, when his body was returned to a priest, could the Eucharist be easily taken from his dead hands.  Another version is that the assailants could find no trace of the Eucharist any place on his body.  And yet another version is that a Roman soldier, secretly a Christian, completed the task of taking the Eucharist to the prisoners. Where fact stops and legend begins is a bit uncertain, but that a young boy achieved sainthood by giving his life for Christ is quite clear.

He is the patron saint of first communicants and of altar servers, and also of teenage boys.  His relics are kept at the minor basilica of The Church of Saint Sylvester in Capite, along with other martyrs’ relics from the Catacombs.  Here is the poem of Pope Damasus :  (Please feel free to offer a translation in the comments.)

Text of the poem by Pope Damasus

A poem in Latin, composed by Pope Damasus, serves as the only positive historical evidence of the saint’s existence:

Par meritum, quicumque legis, cognosce duorum,
quis Damasus rector titulos post praemia reddit.
Iudaicus populus Stephanum meliora monentem
perculerat saxis, tulerat qui ex hoste tropaeum,
martyrium primus rapuit levita fidelis.

Tarsicium sanctum Christi sacramenta gerentem
cum male sana manus premeret vulgare profanis,
ipse animam potius voluit dimittere caesus
prodere quam canibus rabidis caelestia membra.

Damasi Epigrammata, Maximilian Ihm, 1895, n. 13

Cardinal Burke — A Light upon the Lampstand

March 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris


This is an absurdly long post.  I know it.  But I’ve chosen to go ahead with it for three reasons:  1) Cardinal Burke deserves the best tribute to his righteousness that I can muster, and to do less would be unjust 2) This is more of a documentary post than a blog post and, lest the information and links be lost, it seemed convenient to put it all together in one place.  There are many subtleties which, if left out, destroy the tenuous fabric of the picture, and 3) while of a length better to submit for publication elsewhere, the delays, re-writing or red tape to pursue that outlet would needlessly delay what needs to be timely said.  However, if it does become possible to publish elsewhere, I will take down this post, if necessary.

OK, so what is the reader’s defense?

Scroll through to the conclusions at the end and decide if you want to read any of the analysis.  That makes sense to me, and I hope makes sense to those who just want to know the conclusions.  This subject isn’t going away. It is going to gain even more import as the agenda for Synod 2015 shapes up for next October.


This post attempts to go deeper on two prior Cleansing Fire posts:   Cardinal Burke quoted: “I will resist….” and its follow-up post: “Resisting”, Canon 212, and Galatians .  Clearly, Cardinal Burke’s reply, that he would “resist” a “change” to Church doctrine that would allow the validly married / divorced / ‘remarried’ to receive Holy Communion, has stirred much reflection and opinion.  Since it was a theoretical question, why would he answer it, something rarely done in high pressured interviews?  There may be three possibilities, any or all of which might be true, or not.  First, perhaps Cardinal Burke knows that it is not really a ‘theoretical’ question, but rather a likely happening, which is unfolding before his eyes.  Second, if the Pope is implicated in the orchestrating of the Synod toward the reported change, as some fear (and which Cardinal Kasper claims), Cardinal Burke will have pre-empted any subsequent order of obedience to the contrary.  Third, perhaps the Cardinal is preparing us for what we must do if even an angel were to try to preach another gospel to us.   In that case, he himself is modeling what we have a right to do if even a Pope attempts to change Doctrine.

Another reason for this post is that Annonymouse commented, asking “whether Cardinal Burke should be so outspoken, or whether he would be more effective to advance his arguments privately to the Holy Father”?  It is a good question, and deserves an answer, beyond yes or no.  The question prompted my looking carefully into some of the developments over the last year and a half, involving a number of different pieces of input, and peering into Vatican politics, making this a long, detailed post, but hopefully not without value.  Further, the more I looked into this matter, the more Cardinal Burke seems deserving of our gratitude, for his serving well the people of God.

The following observations and opinions are offered to advance our dialogue; good people can certainly disagree on the conclusions.  But the facts of what was reported in the media are unchanged and, to the best of my knowledge, accurate.  But I don’t have any special  insight into the situation, although  I do have one private communication from Cardinal Burke, sent during the Synod (!), in reply to my mailing last September to Cardinals and Bishops.  From small clues in public statements, from relatively unchallenged media rumor, from news reports, and from a certain momentum which has built up among the laity– all  shed further light, as from a Lampstand, on the role Cardinal Burke has manifested, and the sacrifice he has made to do so.   

Also considered in this analysis are the character and words of those who stand with Cardinal Burke, and the questionable reputations of some who sided against him; e.g. an article was recently published in which Cardinal Wuerl (who gives communion to flagrantly pro-abortion politicians!) criticized Cardinal Burke as a ‘dissenter’, reported by LifeSiteNews in an article “…pot calls the kettle black.”  

Background on Cardinal Burke in the Vatican

 Cardinal Burke 2  Let us begin, for perspective, by considering the role of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke in the Vatican .    On June 27, 2008, Cardinal Burke was named by Pope Benedict XVI to be Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the first non-European to hold a position which is one of the most powerful in the Catholic Church, and includes oversight of the Roman Rota, which receives appeals regarding decrees of nullity from litigants in various Marriage Tribunals.  Abp. Burke was elevated to Cardinal in November, 2010, and was one of the Cardinal-electors who participated in the 2013 Conclave which elected Pope Francis.  Cardinal Burke clearly was deeply trusted by Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is one of the people who has stood by Cardinal Burke, most recently publicly praising his service after Pope Francis terminated him as a member of the Curia. 

Staffing changes in such powerful positions are not unexpected when a new Pope arrives, but “how” changes are made, even the slightest nuances, can project admiration or contempt for the person replaced.   The manner in which Pope Francis (and his “PR office” aka Vatican Press Office of Frs. Lombardi and Rosica) left rumors “hanging” for weeks,  and that he moved the 66 year old (relatively young) Cardinal from being head of the Vatican’s highest court into a largely ceremonial, relatively powerless position, has deeply concerned many faithful Catholics.  They see in the “way” it was handled, a “slap in the face” or  “punishment” for Cardinal Burke’s outspokenly traditional views expressed at the 2014 session of the Extraordinary Synod.  That may well be true, and it may even be that he himself was on trial (under pressure or threat) during the Synod before a final decision to remove him was announced three weeks later.   But it was a longer and deeper journey, in my opinion, than just the Synod, and one which needs to be told in order to answer Annonymouse’s question on behalf of many who might wonder why the matter couldn’t have been handled in an alternative, more interpersonal way.  By the end of this detailed post, one might even be wondering if Cardinal Burke himself welcomed reassignment and even provoked it.

Consistory Warning Bells

Pope Francis announced on October 8, 2013, 209 days after his election as Pope, the calling of  an Extraordinary Synod to be scheduled one year later.  In retrospect, one might be surprised at the rush to convene a Synod, although the immediacy was largely unremarked in the media.  In preparation for that Synod, there was  a consistory held in February 21-24, 2014.  By then, the somewhat ambiguous agenda for the Synod had morphed into the German Walter Cardinal Kasper’s own agenda (which that Cardinal would later claim had been overtly the Pope’s agenda, an allegation which Pope Francis has apparently neither acknowledged nor denied.) However, at least part of Pope Francis’s Synod agenda was prescribed in his own words in Zenit  on September 17, 2013 (before the Synod was announced) regarding the divorced, and remarried, and their receiving the Eucharist.  In a meeting with the priests of Rome, he said:  “It is a serious problem regarding the Church’s responsibility towards families living in this situation. The Church must now do something to solve the problem of marriage annulment”.  

These last 7 words very clearly separate Pope Francis’s view from that of Cardinal Burke.  The Cardinal sees that a couple is either married or not.  The annulment follows reality.  It is not a “problem” but an opportunity to establish the Truth, and there is a “right” to have the Truth established.  The Pope’s words, on the other hand, seem more oriented to the annulment being a facilitator of dissolution, rather than a finding of Truth.  What IS the “problem” of marriage annulment to which the Pope refers?   Is there really a “problem”?  Is an inconvenience to the obstinate sinner a problem?  Or is being out of step with secular government  a “problem”?  Or is holding the line on Christ’s teaching when other churches don’t do so a “problem?” Rather,  these might be seen as “glories” of the Church and of those who serve the Church.  (From St. Irenaeus in Against the Heresies:  “This is man’s glory–to remain steadfast in the service of God.”)

Pope Francis gave Cardinal Kasper extraordinary latitude  to dust off his writings from 20-30 years earlier (which apparently were never supported by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), or by Pope Saint John Paul II.)  Cardinal Mueller, now Prefect of the CDF, has vehemently opposed Cardinal Kasper’s so-called “pastoral” proposals, including his pressing to allow validly married, then divorced and ‘remarried’ persons to be able to receive the Eucharist (clearly against Church Teaching). Christ taught that such persons are adulterers. Therefore, those persons are in serious sin and cannot worthily approach the Eucharist.

With such free rein, Cardinal Kasper’s consistory speeches (prevented from dissemination, but parts are leaking out) primed the pump as early as February 2014, to prelates preparing an agenda for the Synod, effectively spotlighting who would likely be the supporters of Cardinal Kasper’s position, and who would not.  A majority of those invitation-only attendees of the first Synod session, in October 2014, voted ‘yes’ on three separate matters of controversy, although a necessary 2/3 majority vote was not achieved.  To complicate matters further, the three items rejected should have been left out of the final “Relatio” that was issued, but it was (questionably) attributed to Pope Francis that it should be left in, but with a mention that it had not passed the 2/3 vote.  Apparently that footnote is lost in some translations, and by the time the delayed English translation was available, marriage was no longer being described as just between a man and a woman, text on which the delegates had voted, adding further to the impression of a high level of manipulation in the document that is supposed to become a working document for the 2015 Synod session.  It is no wonder that faithful Cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as the laity, have a high level of concern and skepticism.

Duel of the Authors — not a level playing field

The February 2014 consistory meeting, in which Cardinal Kasper trumpeted his so-called “pastoral practice,” inevitably led to the realization that it would only undermine doctrine as well as true pastoral care,  if implemented. But, by then, the content was already in the Synod plans.  Such error was the real wake-up call for many traditional and faithful prelates, especially Cardinal Burke.  Many of the laity didn’t “get it” until the two Relatios were released during the eventual Synod.  Then the Catholic media and blogosphere were outraged, and the full import of the Kasper solution and its divisiveness in the Church was understood.

But Cardinal Burke did “get it”, at least as early as the consistory, if not earlier. ScreenShot238Over the next 6 months, in cooperation with Cardinal Mueller of the CDF and other noted theologians and experts, a book was produced, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. It was an extraordinary effort that must have been especially blessed by the Holy Spirit to have been completed and readied in such a short time, a noble effort to educate the prelates who would be attending and voting in the Synod.  Cardinal Burke addressed head-on why there is no “annulment problem” in his chapter: “The Canonical Nullity of the Marriage Process.”

What is going on re: Basilians, Fr. Rosica, $ and the Synod?

February 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

Please see Church Militant : regarding a very disrespectful response to  Cardinal Burke by a Basilian priest, Fr. Timothy Scott, in Canada.  That Basilian has now been relieved of his duties as spokesman for the Basilians, but many questions remain, including about finances and whether or not there is pressure to adversely affect the outcome of the Synod later this year by trying to silence Cardinal Burke and his heroic defense of Church Teaching.  More information can be found here:

There ought to be far more transparency about financial matters in the Church than many parishes and dioceses seem willing to do. Adding to the mix is Fr. Rosica’s threatened lawsuit against a Canadian blogger, which also looks like an attempt to silence criticism.  Read more here:  One of the laity’s Canon Law rights allows us to express our opinions to each other.  Lawsuits against those who do express their opinions seem oriented to stopping the lay discussion, and preventing communications.  The defendant in this case has seemed to imply that the first he knew of a lawsuit was when he opened the envelope. But why is Fr. Rosica threatening a lawsuit?  Hasn’t he read Matthew 18: 15-17?

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  

 What about what St. Paul  says in 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8?

“When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  Do you not know that we are to judge angels?  How much more, matters pertaining to this life.  If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame.  Can it be that there is no man among; you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?  To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you.  Why not rather suffer wrong?  Why not rather be defrauded?  But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren.”   

For someone of Fr. Rosica’s stature in Rome, it is surprising that he would risk so much to go after one Catholic blogger, and set this kind of example to the wider Church.

Salt and Light TV Network in Canada, owned or run by Fr. Rosica, seems to have taken a particularly bitter attitude toward Cardinal Burke.  You can read more of the attach here:

 And please keep praying for Cardinal Burke.  

“Resisting”, Canon 212, and Galatians

February 16th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Rather than imposing a VERY long comment on the thread regarding Cardinal Burke’s “I will resist,” it seemed better to begin a new post, focused more toward the sphere in which we can and sometimes must resist. Such discussion is perhaps one reason why St. Paul says we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, in Philippians 2:12

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling….”

While we begin with, and always embrace, the Assent of Faith, nevertheless we work out our salvation one step at a time. There are limitations on our obedience to hierarchy when such obedience would contravene the moral law, for example.  We would not steal in order to keep a parish community solvent, would we?  Even if commanded to do so? What parent would send his or her child to a Religious Education class with a known or even suspected sexual predator in order that the child might be admitted to Holy Communion?

One thing that we learned from the sexual abuse scandal was that members of the Church hierarchy are also human, sinners who are working out their own salvation “with fear and trembling.”  We rightfully castigate leadership that covered up sexual crimes, moved predators from parish to parish, and did not protect the flock. Actually, the laity has been very “light” in the criticism of brother priests of those predators, who knew or suspected and remained silent. And they were ‘light’ on a number of prelates on whose watch the abuse occurred, without even asking what might have been done earlier to ferret out the abuse?  Only God will know who failed and how much.  And only God will know how much the priest sexual abuse scandal has been (or will be) turned to effecting the good of more involvement in matters which endanger the faith of the laity; i.e. resisting revision of Doctrine, no matter who promulgates the changes.  Did God work, to the good, even the great scandal of the 20th century to prepare us for one that could be imminent?

Cardinal Burke 5Why is Cardinal Burke’s involvement now so important?  If prelates of high rank and influence had gone public years earlier in the sexual abuse matter, even in a general way, would much suffering have been avoided? Would the image of the Church now be more able to influence  today’s secular world for the good?  Is the threatened abandonment of Doctrine (through the mechanism of a Synod, e.g.) such an approaching wolf, that one shepherd, at least, must get lay attention by crying out, at his own risk: “I will resist”?  Will his own fear and trembling be echoed in our own fear and trembling as we don’t run or hide, but rather engage in our own prudent response, given sufficient warning?

The best defense is, of course, always prayer and discernment of what we are called to do.  We pray that we are not called to enter into ‘the test.’  Everyone can pray; not everyone will have the clarity and courage to undertake a prominent resistance, whatever that will mean.  But all are called to resist sin, in whatever form it appears.   Another key element of our own protection is being well-catechized, and continuing to deepen in the Faith.  The support as well as the correction by our brothers and sisters in the Faith is key to our own endurance.  Hence, even discussing these matters together, as we are doing here, is vital to working out our own role “in fear and trembling.”

The following is Canon 212, copied from the website of The St. Joseph Foundation, Code of Canon Law Book Covera not-for-profit foundation which vindicates the rights of Catholics under the Law of the Church. The term “Christian Faithful” includes clergy as well as laity. Thus, Cardinal Burke would also seem to have rights herein.  Moreover, one might ask if it were not better for him to have publicly verbalized his concerns now, before he is possibly forbidden to do so and conflicted with demands of obedience, and encounters an even more difficult decision. Without limiting current discussion only to this Canon, it is also appropriate to mention that the person who should most know what Canon Law permits or prohibits is Cardinal Burke, having served for years as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.   Moreover, departure from his prior practice of more silence simply serves to elevate the importance with which he views what he is saying to us.

Canon 212

§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Note in particular that “opinion” in section 3 is modified by the requirement that the person expressing the opinion express it “according to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess.”  It does not convey a willy-nilly right to insist on our own ill-formed opinions, for example, or to create dissent for the sake of dissent. It assumes a certain level of catechesis, as well as good will.  But also note that it does not require only a one-on-one ‘up the ladder’ communication.  Some of our prior experience from years gone by would indicate much of such input was simply disregarded anyway.  Partly, that is because Canon 212 is missing the corresponding obligation on the part of hierarchy to respond; however, rights aren’t given without some expectation of response.  Nevertheless, there also is no obligation to express concerns just one time and let it go.  (St. Catherine of Siena didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer in asking the Pope to return to Rome, did she?) Moreover, section 3 is specific that we can make our opinions known “to the rest of the Christian Faithful”, as we do on this blog, e.g.  So too, apparently, can Cardinal Burke!


I have been particularly concerned about Cardinal Kasper’s hijacking of the word “Gospel” in his arguments regarding the “Gospel of the Family,”  and even more concerned about the repeated use of this term in the Relatios from the Synod.  While even Saint Pope John Paul II may have used the term as understandably illustrative, he never used it to introduce a departure from Gospel Teaching.  In one sense, there is no “Gospel of the Family” or ” Good News of the Family.”  The Relatios catalog more problems than good news.

We must be clear.  There are four Gospels that comprise Sacred Scripture, attested as divinely inspired: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  There is no other Gospel, and the not-so-subtle “language” by which Cardinal Kasper tries to legitimize his desperation is transparently in error, as evidenced by the attempt to permit those living in what Christ called “adultery” to commit the sacrilege of receiving Holy Communion.  We should be grateful that the error is so clear, flagrant, and easy to oppose with strong voice.  What I have most held onto during this period is St. Paul to the Galatians 1: 6-12.  It is worth memorizing:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Is it not ironic that at least part of the motivation to be more like the world, more like the Churches which do homage to the world, is indeed “pleasing men?”  St. Paul nailed it, giving us fair warning.

Why the German Catholic Church presses for Pastoral / Doctrinal Progressivism

February 2nd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following article, by the highly respected journalist Edward Pentin, my pprovides much clarity on why the German Catholic Church has been leading the charge to revise doctrine at the Synod under the guise of pastoral reform.

The New Homophiles and the “Gift” of “Gayness”

December 19th, 2014, Promulgated by b a

Do you remember the synod where changes were proposed to discipline and terminology in which it was assured that there would be no changes to doctrine? Of course, it’s not that easy. You can’t just do a 180 on discipline and terminology and expect doctrine to remain cogent, especially when there is no logical way to square the discipline with the doctrine. It’s common knowledge that the most disputed change concerned giving communion to divorced and re-“married” couples who have made no firm amendment to live in accord with God’s law. Another radical proposal made by the revolutionaries was to change the Church’s terminology regarding homosexuality. There was even language in the midterm Relatio addressing the gifts of homosexuality. The ambiguity as to whether homosexuals have gifts as humans just as everyone does or whether their gifts are unique to them as homosexuals seemed intent to apply the latter. Of course, all of these new ideas are not new at all. St. John Paul II along with Cardinal Ratzinger and later Pope Benedict XVI couldn’t have been more clear on both of these now “open” issues (of course they aren’t really open – this is all just one big game).

In my mind, the orthodox Catholic world has firmly and thoroughly squashed the idea of communion for the divorced and re-“married” (who live as though they are married). Not that it wasn’t squashed from the get-go, but it’s been discussed enough now that anyone paying attention really has no excuse to continue entertaining the idea. As to the question of the “gifts” of homosexuality and whether people ought to identify as homosexuals, this question seems to be getting less attention. To address this, I’d like to call your attention to Austin Ruse’s article in Crisis Magazine “Fifteen Minutes for the New Homophiles” where he provides a refute of the recent WaPo article celebrating what he calls the “New Homophiles”. Here’s the gist of it:

Conservative Christians, opponents of the gay agenda, opponents particularly of gay marriage, are so eager not to be considered bigots that the New Homophiles are acceptable to them. What a welcome relief. See, we’re not bigots. We like those celibate “gay” Christians! While dialogue and engagement are good things, Christians still need to take a closer look at New Homophile claims.

Prior to this article, Austin Ruse wrote a series of articles worth reading which provides a little more background.

The New Homophiles – December 20, 2013

The New Homophiles: A Closer Look – January 3, 2014

The New Homophiles and Their Critics – January 17, 2014

So what authority does Austin Ruse have? None that I know of, but I think he makes good sense. Nevertheless, we do have an important document by Cardinal Ratzinger as head of the CDF:

If you read this letter, you’ll find that the “new homophiles” bring nothing new to the table. Cardinal Ratzinger already said it all. It’s not like he forgot or missed something (same goes for JP2 on communion/marriage). The only thing left to say is – which side are we on?

* In these cases we’re not talking even talking about dreaded 50 year old teachings that existed pre-Vatican II. We’re talking about teachings that were decisive less than 2 years ago.