Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Guess who had a private audience with Francis?

If you guessed Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, you are correct!

What do Francis & Steinsaltz have in common?

Adin Steinsaltz the famed translator of the the Babylonian Talmudnasi of the Nascent Sanhedrin (some say he resigned from this post), and Talmudic teacher of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, traveled to Rome where on Monday he had a private audience with Francis.  It wasn’t Steinsaltz’s first trip to the Vatican, in 2002 he spoke there and again in 2005.  Little has come out about the meeting between Francis and Steinsaltz but it was filmed and photographedCall Me Jorge... will update this post if further information comes out.  

The day after the private audience Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz returned to Jerusalem where he suffered a stroke and underwent an angioplasty at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.  He is currently in a medical induced coma.

Neither is a fan of the Jesus of the Gospels.

What a motley crew of rabbinical traditionalists.

Adin Steinsaltz like Ivanka Trump, and the late King Hassan II, is a huge fan of Menachem Mendel ‘moshiach’ Schneerson

Steinsaltz wrote a book about his teacher and spiritual guide, Schneerson.

Is the reason Francis can’t answer 5 dubia because he is too busy granting interviews?

Nope, he can’t answer the 5 dubia because he would have to admit he is busy destroying what’s left of Catholic morals with his modernist ambiguity!

The following is the full text of the interview the Holy Father granted to the Belgian Catholic weekly publication “Tertio”, on the occasion of the conclusion of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
 [(Interviewer) Representative of the bishops for means of communication …
(Francis) You once brought me some young people who asked good questions
(Interviewer) There is a Pope who gives good answers…
(Francis) I’ll wait a moment … I want to see the questions, because I haven’t seen them…]
QUESTION - In our country we are going through a moment in which national politics wishes to separate religion from public life: for example, in education. It is the opinion that, in a time of secularisation, religion should be reserved to private life. How can we be at the same time a missionary Church, outbound towards society, and live this tension created by this public opinion?
FRANCIS - Well, I do not want to offend anyone, but this is an old-fashioned mindset. This is the legacy that the Enlightenment has left to us - is it not? - in which every religious phenomenon is a subculture. It is the difference between laicism and secularism. I have spoken about this with the French. … Vatican Council II tells us about the autonomy of things, of processes and institutions. There is a healthy secularism, for instance, the secularism of the State. In general, a secular State is a good thing; it is better than a confessional State, because confessional States finish badly. But secularism is one thing, and laicism is another. Laicism closes the doors to transcendence, to the dual transcendence: both transcendence towards others and, above all, transcendence towards God; or towards what is beyond us. And openness to transcendence is part of the human essence. It is part of man. I am not speaking about religion, I am speaking about openness to transcendence. Therefore, a culture or a political system that does not respect openness to the transcendence of the human person “prunes” or cuts down the human person. Or rather, it does not respect the human person. This is more or less what I think. Therefore, sending to the sacristy any act of transcendence is a form of “asepsis”, which has nothing to do with human nature, which cuts from human nature a good part of life, which is openness.
QUESTION - You are concerned about the interreligious relationship. In our times we live with terrorism and with war. At times it can be seen that the roots of the current wars reside in the difference between religions. What can be said about this?
FRANCIS - Yes, I believe that this opinion exists. But no religion as such can foment war. Because in this case it would be proclaiming a god of destruction, a god of hatred. One cannot wage war in the name of God or in the name of a religious position. War cannot be waged in any religion. And for this reason terrorism and war are not related to religion. Religion is distorted to justify them, this is true. You are witnesses of this, you have experienced it in your homeland. But they are distortions of religion, that do not relate to the essence of the religious fact, which is instead love, unity, respect, dialogue, all these things. … But not in that aspect, or rather, we must be categorical about this, no religion proclaims war for the fact of religion. Religious distortions, yes. For example, all religions have fundamentalist groups.
All of them, we do too. And they destroy, starting from their fundamentalism. But these are small religious groups that have distorted and have “sickened” their religion, and as a result they fight, they wage war, or they cause division in communities, which is a form of war. But these are the fundamentalist groups we have in all religions. There is always a small group …
QUESTION – Another question on war. We are currently commemorating the centenary of the First World War. What would you say to the European continent about the post-war message, “No more war!”?
FRANCIS - I have spoken to the European continent three times: twice in Strasbourg and once last year, or this year, I do not remember, when there was the Charlemagne Prize [6 May 2016]. I think that “No more war!” has not been taken seriously, because after the First there was the Second, and after the Second there is this third war we are experiencing now, piecemeal. We are at war. The world is conducting a third world war: Ukraine, Middle East, Africa, Yemen … It is very grave. Therefore, we say the words “No more war!”, but at the same time we manufacture weapons and sell them, and we sell them to those who are fighting, as arms producers sell them to this and that, to those who are at war with each other. It is true. There is an economic theory that I have not tried to confirm, but which I have read in several books: that in the history of humanity, when a State saw that its accounts were not in good shape, waged war to balance its budget. That is, it is one of the easiest ways to produce wealth. Certainly, the price is very high: blood.
“No more war!” was something that Europe said sincerely, I believe: Schumann, De Gasperi, Adenauer … they said it sincerely. But afterwards … Nowadays there is a lack of leaders; Europe is in need of leaders, leaders who go ahead. … Well, I do not want to repeat what I said in the three speeches.
QUESTION - Is there any chance that you will come to Belgium for this commemoration of the war?
FRANCIS - It is not planned, no … I used to go to Belgium every year and a half when I was the provincial [superior], because there was an association of friends of the Catholic University of Córdoba. And so I used to go there to speak. They did the [spiritual] Exercises, and I used to go to thank them. I became fond of Belgium. For me the most beautiful city in Belgium is not yours, but rather Bruges [laughs].
[Interviewer: I have to tell you that my brother is a Jesuit.
Francis: Really? I didn’t know!
Interviewer: So, apart from being Jesuit, he’s a good person.
Francis: I was about to ask you if you were Catholic … (laughter)]
QUESTION – We are about to conclude the Year of Mercy. Can you tell us how you lived this Year, and what you expect when the Year comes to an end?
FRANCIS – The Year of Mercy was not an idea that came to me unexpectedly. It takes its cue from Blessed Paul VI. Paul VI had already taken a number of steps to rediscover God’s mercy. St. John Paul II then placed great emphasis on this with three facts: the Encyclical Dives in Misericordia, the canonisation of St. Faustina, and the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave of Easter; he died on the eve of that feast day. He introduced the Church onto this road in this way. I felt that the Lord wanted this. It was … I don’t know how the idea formed in my heart. One fine day I said to Msgr. Fisichella, who had come about matters related to his Dicastery, “How I would like to hold a Jubilee, a Jubilee of Mercy”. And he said, “Why not?” And that is how the Year of Mercy began. It is the best assurance that it was not a human idea, but rather that it came from on high. I believe that it was inspired by the Lord. And evidently it went very well. In addition, the fact that the Jubilee was held not only in Rome, but all over the world, in all dioceses and within each diocese, created a lot of movement, a lot of movement … People were very active. There was a lot of activity and people felt called to reconcile themselves with God, to encounter the Lord again, to feel the caress of the Father.
QUESTION – The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the distinction between cheap grace and costly grace. So, what does cheap or costly mercy mean to you?
FRANCIS – Cheap mercy or costly mercy: I do not know Bonhoeffer’s text, I don’t know when he explains this. .. But it is cheap because there is nothing to pay; one doesn’t have to buy indulgences, it is a pure gift. And it is costly because it is the most precious gift. There is a book based on an interview I gave, entitled “The name of God is Mercy”. It is precious because it is the name of God: God is merciful.
It reminds me of that priest I had in Buenos Aires, who continued to celebrate Mass and to work, and he was 92 years old! At the beginning of Mass he would always give certain warnings. He is very energetic, 92 years old, preaches very well, the people go to listen to him. “Please, switch off your mobile phones”. And during the Mass, the Offertory began, and a telephone began to ring. He stopped and said, “Please, switch off your mobile phones”. And the altar boy, who was next to him, said, “Father, it is yours”. And he took out his phone and answered: ‘Hello!’” [Laughter]
QUESTION – To us, it seems that you are indicating Vatican Council II for our times. You are showing us ways of renewal in the Church. The Synodal Church. … In the Synod you explained your vision of the Church of the future. Could you explain this for our readers?
FRANCIS - The “Synodal Church”, let me take this word. The Church is born from the community, it is born from the foundation, it is born from Baptism, and it is organised around a bishop, who brings it together and gives it strength; the bishop who is the successor of the Apostles. This is the Church. But in all the world there are many bishops, many organised Churches, and there is Peter. Therefore either there is a pyramidal Church, in which what Peter says is done, or there is a synodal Church, in which Peter is Peter but he accompanies the Church, he lets her grow, he listens to her, he learns from this reality and goes about harmonising it, discerning what comes from the Church and restoring it to her. The richest experience of all this was that of the last two Synods. There all the bishops of the world were heard, during preparation; all the Churches of the world, the dioceses, worked. All this material was worked on during the first Synod, which gave its results to the Church, and then we returned a second time – the second Synod – to complete all this. And from there Amoris Laetitia emerged. It is interesting to see the rich variety of nuances, typical of the Church. It is unity in diversity. This is synodality.
Do not descend from high to low, but listen to the Churches, harmonise them, discern. And so there is a post-Synodal exhortation, which is Amoris Laetitia, which is the result of two Synods, in which all the Church worked, and which the Pope made his own. It is expressed in a harmonious way. It is interesting that all that it contains [Amoris Laetitia], in the Synod it was approved by more than two thirds of the fathers. And this is a guarantee. A synodal Church means that there is this movement from high to low, high to love. And the same in the dioceses. But there is a Latin phrase, that says that the Churches are always cum Petro et sub Petro. Peter is the guarantor of the unity of the Church. He is the guarantor.
This is the meaning. And it is necessary to progress in synodality, which is one of the things that the Orthodox have conserved. And also the Oriental Catholic Churches. It is a richness of theirs, and I recognise it in the Encyclical.
QUESTION - It seems to me that the Second Synod made the passage from the method of “seeing, judging and acting” towards “listening, understanding and accompanying”. It is very different. These are the things that I am constantly saying to people. The passage of the Synod is from seeing, judging and acting, and then to listening to the reality of the people, understanding well this reality and then accompanying people on their path…
FRANCIS - Because each person said what he thought, without fear of feeling judged. And everyone had the attitude of listening, without condemning. And then we discussed, like brothers, in the groups. But it is one thing to debate like brothers and another to condemn a priori. There was great freedom of expression. And this is beautiful!
QUESTION - In Krakow, you gave valuable inspiration to the young. What could be a special message to the young people of our country?
FRANCIS - Not to be afraid, not to be ashamed of faith; not to be ashamed to seek out new ways. And to the young who are not believers: do not worry, search for the meaning of life. To a young person, I would give two pieces of advice: seek out horizons and do not go into retirement at the age of 20. It is very sad to see a young pensioner at 20, 25 years of age, isn’t it? Seek out horizons, go ahead, continue to work in this human task.
QUESTION - A final question, Holy Father, regarding the media: a consideration regarding the means of communication…
FRANCIS – The communications media have a very great responsibility. Nowadays they have in their hands the possibility and the capacity to form opinion: they can form a good or a bad opinion. The means of communication are the builders of a society. In and of themselves, they are made to build, to interchange, to fraternise, to make us think, to educate. In themselves they are positive. It is obvious that, given that we are all sinners, also the media can – we who use the media, I am using a means of communication here – become harmful. And the communications media have their temptations. They can be tempted by calumny, and therefore used to slander, to sully people, especially in the world of politics. They can be used as a means of defamation: every person has the right to a good reputation, but perhaps in their previous life, or ten years ago, they had a problem with justice, or a problem in their family life, and bringing this to light is serious and harmful; it can annul a person. In slander we tell a lie about a person; in defamation, we leak a document, as we say in Argentina, “Se hace un carpetazo” – and we uncover something that is true, but already in the past, and which has already been paid for with a jail sentence, with a fine, or whatever. There is no right to this. This is a sin and it is harmful. A thing that can do great damage to the information media is disinformation: that is, faced with any situation, saying only a part of the truth, and not the rest. This is disinformation. Because you, to the listener or the observer, give only half the truth, and therefore it is not possible to make a serious judgement. Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth. And then, I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey – without offence, please – to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true. And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm. Thus, I would say that there are these four temptations. But they are builders of opinion and can construct, and do immense good, immense.
QUESTION – To conclude, a word for priests. Not a speech, because they say we have to conclude. … What is most important for a priest?
FRANCIS – It is a rather Salesian answer, but it comes from the heart. Remember that you have a Mother who loves you, and never cease to love your Mother, the Virgin. Secondly, let yourself be looked at by Jesus. Third: seek out the suffering flesh of Jesus in your brothers: there you will encounter Jesus. This as a basis. Everything comes from here. If you are an orphan priest, who has forgotten that he has a Mother; if you are a priest who has drifted away from He Who called you, from Jesus, you will never be able to carry the Gospel. What is the way? Tenderness. May they have tenderness. Priests should never be ashamed of having tenderness.
May they caress the suffering blood of Jesus. Today there is a need for a revolution of tenderness in this world that suffers from “cardiosclerosis”.
QUESTION - Cardio…?
FRANCIS – Cardiosclerosis.

source: Bollettino, Interview with the Holy Father Francis for the Belgian Catholic weekly, “Tertio”, 07.12.2016

Just another typical day at Francis’ Vatican

Athanasius Schneider says, “Schism already exists in the Church”

Athanasius Schneider can’t help but spread his 
conservative modernist errors wherever he goes!

“It is not only a risk of schism, but a certain kind of schism already exists in the Church.  In Greek, schism means to separate oneself from the totality of the body.  Christ is the totality of Divine Truth, and unity in His supernatural body is also visible.   But we are witnessing today a strange form of schism.  Externally, numerous ecclesiastics safeguard formal unity with the pope, at times for the good of their own career or out of a kind of papolatry.  And at the same time they have broken their ties with Christ, the Truth, and with Christ, true head of the Church.  On the other hand there are  ecclesiastics who are denounced as schismatics despite the fact they live in canonical peace with the pope and remain faithful to Christ, the Truth by assiduously promoting His Gospel of Truth.  It is evident that those who are internally the true schismatics, in relation to Christ, make use of calumnies for the sole purpose of silencing the voice of Truth, by absurdly projecting their own state of internal schism on those ecclesiastics who, regardless of praise or rebuke, defend the divine truths.  In fact, as Sacred Scripture says, the word of Divine Truth is not bound.  Even if a number of high-ranking officials in the Church today temporarily obscure the truth of the doctrine of marriage and its perennial discipline, this doctrine and discipline will always remain unchangeable in the Church, because the Church is not a human foundation but a divine one.”
— Athanasius Schneider  —


Schism is defined by Schneider as — having union with the pope but not with Christ!

Only a modernist could come up with an idea like this!

A handy guide for the confused conservative modernist, Athanasius Schneider, explaining schism:

More on this conservative modernist:

Did Judas Iscariot repent?

Francis seems to think so!

(underlines are Call Me Jorge...’s for emphasis)

Judas is the most perfect lost sheep in the Gospel: a man with a bitter heart, someone who always had something to criticize in others, he was always ‘detached’. He did not know the sweetness that comes of living without second ends with others. He was an unsatisfied man!” he said.

The Pope said that because of the darkness in his heart Judas was separated from the herd. He said – more in general - that darkness can lead to living a double life: “a double life that, perhaps painfully, many Christians, even priests and bishops lead...”

Pointing out that Judas himself was one of the first bishops, the Pope recalled a beautiful sermon given by Father Mazzolari in which he described Judas as a lost sheep: “Brother Judas, he said, what was happening in your heart?” Francis said we need to understand lost sheep: each and every one of us has something in us of the lost sheep.

The Repentance of Judas

The Pope went on to explain that is not so much a mistake but a disease of the heart that makes a sheep wander and he said it is something the devil exploits.

Just as it was with Judas whose heart was ‘divided’. And finally when Judas saw what harm his double life had wreaked in the community, when he saw the evil he had sown because of the darkness in his heart that caused him to run away, looking for a light that was not the light of the Lord, but artificial lights like Christmas decorations, he was thrown into despair:

The Pope said that the Bible tells us that “the Lord is good, he never stops looking for the lost sheep” and it tells us that when Judas hanged himself he had repented.

“I believe that the Lord will take that word [repentance] and bring it with Him” he said. And it tells us that right until the end God’s love was working in that soul.

The priest whom Francis mentioned above was the late Fr. Primo Mazzolari.  This wasn’t the first time Francis has mentioned him or one of his sermons.  Mazzolari was known as a revolutionary and often in trouble with Church authorities until the Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Montini (the future Paul VI), extended him his protection.  Mazzolari had to withdraw books he had written from circulation due to their radical anti-Catholic ideas.  Besides preaching about Judas Iscariot, he preached about the “Church of the Poor”, attacked the doctrine of just war, believed in religious freedom, and pluralism.  Many of his ideas were incorporated into the documents of the Second Vatican Council, one could say he was one of the spiritual fathers of it.  Below is a link to the homily (in Italian) Francis is so fond of mentioning which was given by Fr. Primo Mazzolari on Holy Thursday (1958) and was titled “Our Brother Judas”.

Does Francis see himself as a modern day Judas Iscariot?

Another interview

The following is a translation of an interview given by Pope Francis, which was published in the Italian daily newspaper, Avvenire on 17 November, as the Jubilee Year was about to come to a close.

Holy Father, what did this Year of Mercy mean to you?
When someone discovers he is loved, he finds a way to escape a terrible sense of isolation and separation that includes even hatred of others and of oneself. I hope many people have discovered that they are deeply loved by Jesus and have allowed themselves to be embraced by him. Mercy is the very name of God. It is also his weakness; his soft spot. His mercy always leads him to forgive and to forget our sins. I like to think that the Almighty has a poor memory. The minute he forgives, he forgets. Because he is happy to forgive. For me this is sufficient, just as it was sufficient for the adulterous woman in the Gospel “who loved much” — “because he loved much”. That is what Christianity is all about.

Yet this was a unique Jubilee with many special moments....
Jesus does not ask for grand gestures; only abandonment and gratitude. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a doctor of the Church, in her “little way” toward God, uses the image of a child who falls asleep instantly in the arms of his father, and she reminds us that in the end, charity cannot remain closed. Love of God and love of neighbour are two inseparable loves.

Were the original aims of this Holy Year achieved?
I really didn’t have a pre-set plan. I simply acted upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Things just happened. I allowed myself to be led by the Spirit. We only needed to be docile to the Holy Spirit, to let him do the work. The Church is the Gospel, the work of Jesus Christ. It is not simply a set of ideas and a means of affirming them. And in the Church things happen when the time is right: when the opportunity presents itself.

Such as an Extraordinary Jubilee Year....
It was a process that matured through time by the work of the Holy Spirit. Before me there was John XXIII who in Gaudet Mater Ecclesia described the “medicine of mercy” and indicated the path to follow at the beginning of the Council. Then there was Paul VI whose paradigm was the story of the Good Samaritan. Then there was the teaching of Saint John Paul II with his second Encyclical Dives in Misericordia and the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy. Benedict XVI said that “the name of God is Mercy”. All of these were pillars. In this way, the Spirit pushes forth projects in the Church until they are finally brought to completion.

This Jubilee was also the Jubilee of the Council, “hic et nunc”, standing at the crossroads of its reception and a special time of pardon.
The lived experience of mercy embracing the entire human family is precisely the grace proclaimed through the apostolic ministry. The Church exists simply as an instrument for communicating God’s merciful plan to the whole human race. At the Council, the Church felt the responsibility of being a living sign of the Father’s love in the world. With Lumen Gentium, she went back to the source of her very nature: the Gospel. This shifted the focus of Christianity from a certain legalism, which can become ideological, to the person of God who made himself mercy through the incarnation of the Son. Some — we can think of certain reactions to Amoris Laetitia, for example — still failing to see that it is not always a matter of black and white, even though it should be clear that discernment has to take place in the very flux of life. This is what the Council told us; although it is true that historians tell us that 100 years are necessary before a Council is absorbed by the body of the Church. So we are halfway there....

During this time there have also been significant ecumenical meetings and visits: with Patriarch Bartholomew and Hieronymus on Lesvos, with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba, and in Lund for the joint commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation. Was it the Year of Mercy that gave rise to these initiatives with other Christian churches?
I would not say that these ecumenical meetings were directly the fruit of the Year of Mercy. No. Indeed, they are part of a journey that goes way back. They are not something new. They were long in coming. From the time of the publication of the conciliar decree Unitatis Redintegratio over 50 years ago, which signaled a rediscovery of Christian brotherhood based on one baptism and a shared faith in Christ, the journey along the path to unity progressed in small steps and has yielded fruit. This is the path I continue to follow.

Those paths pursued by your predecessors....
Yes, in their footsteps. One important step along this path was the dialogue between Pope Luciani and the Russian Metropolitan Nikodim. The latter died suddenly in Luciani’s arms, embraced by his brother bishop of Rome. Nikodim said many beautiful things about the Church. I also remember all the heads of the Eastern Churches present at John Paul II’s funeral: this is brotherhood. Various meetings and visits simply contributed to this brotherhood and helped it to grow.

You, however, in less than four years, have met with all the primates and leaders of the Christian churches. These meetings span your pontificate. Why the acceleration in pace?
This is simply the work of the Council moving forward and gaining momentum. But this is all part of the journey, it isn’t me. This is the journey of the Church. It is true that I have met with primates and leaders of the Eastern churches, but my predecessors had their own meetings with various leaders. I don’t believe that I have sped up the process. The more we move forward the faster it seems to go. It is a motus in fine velocior, to use an expression from Aristotelian physics.

How do you live out your own ecumenical commitment in meetings with brothers from other Christian Churches?
I live it out in a deep sense of brotherhood. You can feel it. Jesus is right there with us. They are all brothers to me. We bless one another — one brother blessing another. When I went from Lesvos to Greece with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Hieronymus of Athens to meet with refugees, we truly felt as one. We were one. One! When I went to Fanar in Istanbul to meet with Patriarch Bartholomew for the Feast of Saint Andrew it was a wonderful celebration. In Georgia I met with Patriarch Ilia, who had not gone to Crete for the Orthodox council. The spiritual affinity I felt with him was very deep. I felt like I was in the presence of a saint, like a man of God had taken me by the hand and told me many beautiful things as much with his gestures as with his words. These Patriarchs are true monks. You can see that behind the conversation they are men of prayer. Kirill is a man of prayer, as well as the Coptic Patriarch Tawadros whom I met while entering the chapel. He was taking off his shoes and preparing to pray. A year ago, Patriarch Daniel of Romania gave me a Spanish translation of Saint Sylvester on Mount Athos, whose biography I first read when I was still in Buenos Aires: “pray for men and shed your own blood”. The saints unite us in the Church by bringing her mystery to life. We are fellow sojourners with our Orthodox brothers. We love one another. We have the same concerns. They even come here to study with us. Bartholomew himself studied in Rome.

You have already made much progress with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a Successor of the Apostle Andrew, as evidenced by the joint declarations you have made with him. I imagine that the love that transformed the life of the Apostles sustained you in this: Peter and Andrew were brothers.... 
On Lesvos, while we were both greeting the faithful, I leaned down to a young child. But the child was not interested in me. He was looking right past me. I turned around to find out why: Bartholomew had filled his pockets with candy which he was giving out to the kids. This is Bartholomew: a man who was able to carry forth the Great Orthodox Council despite all the difficulties, to speak theology at a high level, and to spend time with the children. Whenever he came to Rome he would stay at Santa Marta in the room where I am living now. The only time he ever scolded me was when he had to change rooms!

You continue to meet often with heads of other churches. But shouldn’t the Bishop of Rome spend all his time caring for the Catholic Church?
Jesus himself prayed to the Father that they would all be one so that the world might believe. This is his prayer to the Father. From all time, the Bishop of Rome is called to guard, seek, and serve this unity. We also know that the wounds of our divisions, which tear apart the body of Christ, cannot be healed by us alone. Therefore we cannot simply implement projects or systems to achieve unity. To achieve unity among all Christians we must look at Jesus alone and ask that the Holy Spirit work among us. That he may be the one to make unity. In the meeting with Lutherans in Lund I repeated the words of Jesus, who said to his Apostles: “Without me, you can do nothing”.

Why was it so important to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in Sweden? Was it a big step forward ? 
The meeting with the Lutheran Church in Lund was a further step in the ecumenical journey that began 50 years ago with the Lutheran-Catholic theological dialogue, culminating in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed in 1999, or how Jesus renders us just by saving us by his grace: the very point that gave rise to Luther’s initial reflections. So it is a return to the essentials of the faith to rediscover the nature of that which unites us. Before me, Benedict XVI went to Erfurt where he spoke very clearly about this point. He emphasized that the question “how can I have a merciful God?” penetrated Luther’s very heart and was the driving force behind all his theological research and interior reflection. It was a purification of memory. Luther wished to carry out a reform that could serve as a medicine. Then things began to crystallize, there were political interests involved, and it finished in cuius regio eius religio, so that one had to follow the religious confession of the one who held power.

But there are those who think that you are compromising Catholic doctrine by these ecumenical meetings. Someone has commented that you are giving in to a “Protestantization” of the Church.... 
I don’t lose any sleep over this. I am following the path of my predecessors. I am following the Council. As for comments like that, we need to look at the context and spirit in which they are said. If they aren’t said with a mean spirit, they help us in the journey. At other times it is clear that criticisms are made here and there to justify a position already assumed. They are dishonest. They are done with a mean spirit or to foment division. It is clear that certain kinds of rigidity are born from something that is lacking, from a desire to hide under the armour of one’s sad sense of dissatisfaction. This rigid behaviour is evident in the film Babette’s Feast .

With the Lutherans too, there has been a strong appeal to work together for those in need. Do we therefore need to set aside theological and sacramental questions and aim only at a common social and cultural commitment? 
We don’t have to set aside anything. Serving the poor means serving Christ, because the poor are the flesh of Christ. And if we serve the poor together, it means that we Christians find ourselves united in touching the wounds of Christ. I am thinking of the work that Caritas and the Lutheran charitable organizations can do together after the meeting in Lund. It is not an institution; it is a journey. Sometimes we place “matters of doctrine” and “matters of pastoral charity” in opposition. But according to the Gospel they are not so. To do so only creates confusion.

The joint commemoration in Lund signified a moment of mutual acceptance and a profound level of mutual understanding. But from this point, how do we resolve ecclesiological questions that are still open such as those regarding ministry and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, that separate us from the Lutheran Church. How is it possible to overcome these questions in order to work toward a unity that is visible to the world?
The Joint Declaration on Justification is the basis for progress on the theological front. Theological research must continue to move forward. The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity is contributing to this work. The theological journey is important, but it must always be done in prayer and be accompanied by works of charity. These are visible works.

You also said to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow that “unity is achieved by walking forward”, that “unity will not come about as a miracle in the end; walking together is already unity”. You repeat this often. But what does this mean? 
Unity does not come about just because we agree on everything, but because we walk, following Jesus. And by walking, through the work of the One we follow, we discover that we are united. It is by walking behind Jesus that we are united. To convert means to let the Lord live and work in us. In this way, we happen to discover ourselves united in our common mission of proclaiming the Gospel. By walking and working together, we recognize that we are already united in the name of the Lord, and consequently that we are not the creators of unity. We recognize that it is the Spirit who urges us and leads us forward. If you are docile to the Spirit, it is he who tells you the step you need to take, and he will do the rest. You cannot go behind Christ if he himself does not lead you, if he doesn’t urge you forward with his strength. For this reason, it is the Spirit who is the creator of unity among Christians. This is why I say that unity is achieved by walking, because unity is a grace that one must ask for, and it’s also why I say that every form of proselytism among Christians is sinful. The Church never grows through proselytism but “through attraction”, as Benedict XVI has written. Proselytism among Christians itself is therefore a serious sin for Christians.

Because it contradicts the very dynamic by which we become and remain Christians. The Church is not a soccer team in search of fans.

What means, therefore, are to be used in the quest for unity? 
Fully engaging in the process rather than just taking up space is also key in the ecumenical journey. At this moment in history, unity must be pursued in three ways: by performing works of charity together, by praying together, and by acknowledging the common confession as expressed in the common martyrion (witness) received in the name of Christ: in the ecumenism of blood. It is there that the Evil One himself recognizes our unity, the unity of the baptized. The Evil One makes no mistake in this. And these are all expressions of visible unity. Praying together is something visible. Performing works of charity together is something visible. Sharing martyrdom in the name of Christ is something visible.

But among Catholics there does not seem to be a profound sensitivity for seeking unity among Christians and a perception of the pain of division.
The meeting in Lund, like the steps in ecumenism that led up to it, was a step toward a clearer understanding of the scandal of division that wounds the body of Christ. How can we bear witness to the truth of love if we are fighting among ourselves, if we separate ourselves from one another? When I was a child one never spoke with Protestants. There was a priest in Buenos Aires who sent a group of young people to burn down the tents of the evangelical missionaries whenever they came to town. Times have changed. The scandal has been overcome simply by doing things together with gestures of unity and brotherhood.

When you met with Kirill in Cuba, your first words were: “We have the same baptism. We are both bishops”. 
When I was bishop of Buenos Aires, I was very pleased with the many initiatives launched by many priests to facilitate the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is the act by which the Lord chooses us, and if we acknowledge that we are united in baptism then we are united in what is most fundamental. This is the common source that unites us all as Christians and empowers every future step toward full communion among us. In order to rediscover our unity we don’t have to “go beyond” baptism. To have the same baptism means to confess together that the Word was made flesh: this saves us. Every ideology and theory is begotten by someone who refuses to stop here — who does not remain in the faith that recognizes Christ as having come in the flesh — and wants to “go b eyond”. From here arise all the positions that remove the flesh of Christ from the Church, that “disincarnate” the Church. If we look together at our common baptism we will also be freed from the temptation toward Pelagianism that tries to convince us that we are saved by our own efforts, with our own activism. And to remain in baptism also saves us from gnosis. This detracts from the nature of Christianity and reduces it to a way of esoteric knowledge that can do without a real encounter with Christ.

In an interview with ‘Avvenire’, Patriarch Bartholomew said that the root of division is the infiltration of “worldly thinking” into the Church. Would you agree that this is the cause of division? 
In my opinion, the greatest cancer in the Church results from our tendency to give glory to one another. If someone does not know who Jesus is, or has never met Him, he still has the possibility of meeting Him; but if someone is already in the Church and moves and acts within the Church precisely because within that context he cultivates and nourishes a hunger for power and self-affirmation, he suffers from a serious spiritual illness and believes that the Church is an inward-looking human reality, where everything moves according to the logic of ambition and power. This phenomenon also influenced Luther’s reaction: he rejected the image of the Church as an organization that could go forward with or without the Lord’s grace, by considering it something to take for granted with an a priori guarantee. And this temptation to construct a self interested Church that leads to opposition and hence division returns again and again.

Regarding the Orthodox, you often recite the so-called “formula” of theologian-turned-Pope Ratzinger, according to which, “as far as regards the primacy of the Pope, Rome must require from the Orthodox Churches nothing more than what was established and lived in the first millennium”. But what does the perspective of the Church of the first centuries suggest is essential in the present time?
We must look back at the first millennium because it can always inspire us. It’s not a matter of turning back in a mechanistic way. It’s not a matter simply of “going back”. But there are treasures from then still valid today. I spoke a moment ago of the temptation of the Church to look only inwardly: the sinful habit of gazing at herself too much, as if believing she were the source of her own light. Patriarch Bartholomew said the same thing in speaking of ecclesial “introversion ”. The fathers of the Church of the first centuries clearly believed that the Church lived from moment to moment only by the grace of Christ. For this reason — as I have said before — they affirmed that the Church does not have her own light. They called her mysterium lunae, the mystery of the moon. Because the Church gives light but does not burn with her own light. And when the Church, rather than gazing at Christ, gazes at herself too much, divisions occur. And this is what happened after the first millennium. Looking at Christ frees us from this habit, as well as from the habits of triumphalism and rigidity. And it makes us walk together along the path of docility to the Holy Spirit who leads us to unity.

In some Orthodox Churches there is resistance to the path to unity. Metropolitan John Zizioulas calls them the “Orthodox Taliban”. There are also some pockets of resistance in the Catholic Church. What can be done about this? 
The Holy Spirit brings everything to completion according to a timetable established by him alone. So there is no reason for us to be impatient, skeptical, or anxious. The journey calls for patience in guarding and improving what already binds us, which is much more than what divides us. It is a matter of witnessing to his love for all men so that the world may believe.

The day John Podesta, ‘spiritual cooking’ aficionado and lover of ‘pizza’, met the future saint, John Paul II

Above one can see the sick man, John Podesta, meeting the future saint, John Paul II at the Vatican City with serial rapist, Bill Clinton.


I am writing from Rome, where Congressman Xavier Becerra, the President’s Director of Legislative Affairs Katie Beirne Fallon, and I had the honor of serving as the Presidential Delegation to the Holy See. Yesterday, we, along with U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Kenneth Hackett and his wife Joan, attended the historic canonization Mass for Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
In different ways, John XXIII and John Paul II defined what it meant to be Catholic in the 20th century. Their influence and their example as men of humility, compassion, service, and faith provide profound lessons to people around the world.
Pope John XXIII took leadership of the Church around the time I took my First Communion, at St. Edward’s Parish on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Seventy-six years old when he was elected, there were few who imagined the former Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli as a revolutionary. But the man we know today as il Papa buono, the Good Pope, was not content to let the Church go on as it always had.
By convening the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII built a radically more inclusive Catholic Church, and he himself became a symbol of change and of the power of faith. John spoke to the faithful in simple terms, and addressed his last encyclical, Pacem in Terris — Peace on Earth — to “all men of good will.” The Second Vatican Council drove profound changes in the practice of the Catholic faith. Because of Pope John XXIII, the Mass is celebrated in vernacular languages, rather than in inaccessible Latin. Because of Pope John XXIII, the priest faces his congregation during services. These aren’t cosmetic changes. They go to the heart of how millions of people practice their faith, and profoundly impact how they feel about their lives.
Where Pope John XXIII brought the laity deeper into the heart of the Church, Pope John Paul II helped bring the Church to the world. During his long papacy, John Paul visited 129 countries and touched the hearts of millions, and particularly inspired and deepened the faith of young people around the world. From his fight against Communism to his outspoken opposition to apartheid to condemning the Rwandan genocide, Pope John Paul II was a courageous and outspoken leader.
As a Catholic, and as an American, it has been a deeply humbling experience to be in Rome for the canonization Mass. It was an amazing, breathtaking moment to be 100 feet from Pope Francis as he embraced Pope Benedict at the beginning of the Mass. It seems appropriate, upon reflection, that it was Pope Francis who canonized both John and John Paul. As the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere, Pope Francis has inspired people around the world with his inclusiveness, his conviction, and his deep and profound care for the neediest among us. As the first Jesuit Pope, he is truly a man for others. I had the honor of being received by the Pope, shaking his hand, exchanging a few words and basking in his broad smile. It is a memory I will forever carry deep in my heart.
source:, Reflections on the Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Francis may not want to clarify Amoris Laetitia but Antonio Spadaro has no qualms doing so

 Laughing while they trash the Catholic Faith

Francis’ cold call buddy and editor of the “mouthpiece” of Francis and his revolutionary agenda, La Civiltà Cattolica, only two days ago gave an answer in an interview with Austin Ivereigh which was jaw-dropping to say the least.

Austen Ivereigh: The cardinals [Caffarra, Burke, Brandmuller, and Meisner who submitted 5 dubia] want to know whether Amoris Laetitia ever makes possible absolution and Holy Communion for people who are still validly married but having sexual relations with another. They claim that hasn’t been made clear.
Antonio Spadaro: I think that the answer to that has been given, and clearly. When the concrete circumstances of a divorced and remarried couple make feasible a pathway of faith, they can be asked to take on the challenge of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulty of this option, and leaves open the possibility of admission to the Sacrament of Reconciliation when this option is lacking.
In other, more complex circumstances, and when it has not been possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, this option may not be practicable. But it still may be possible to undertake a path of discernment under the guidance of a pastor, which results in a recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations which attenuate responsibility and guilt - particularly where a person believes they would fall into a worse error, and harm the children of the new union.

Well, there you have it. 

Extra marital relations are now a moral duty!

Long Live adultery!