Archives for October 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #186)

This week: The ELEVENTH video documenting the evil depravity of Planned Parenthood has been released. Remembering Planned Parenthood’s “compassionate response” to 9/11. Fr. Mike Schmitz explains proper understanding of the Old Testament. Jeff Harris illustrates the false and real nature of St. Francis of Assisi. Two good video clips from the political debates. How liberal arts education has been killed and replaced with progressive indoctrination. Maybe or maybe not presidential material, but the Donald has had an impact.

— 1 —

Unlike what has been reported again and again in the mainstream media (progressive press), the undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood’s significant baby organ business have been released in their entirety to show they are NOT selectively edited or taken out of context. Anyone (including progressive politicians who refuse to) may see them in their entirety.

The 11th video has now been released, where Dr. Amna Dermish (a PP abortionist) describes in gruesome detail how she delivers babies with an eye to maximizing their resale value.

— 2 —

PP keeps sinking lower and lower into its cesspool of immorality. I really think at this point that they have lost all sense of truth, beauty and humanity. Do you remember their “compassionate response” to 9/11?

— 3 —

Often, those with disregard for context, understanding of literary types, knowledge of historical fact, or simply familiarity with the text of Holy Scripture criticize it and the Christian faith. One faulty claim is that we pick laws to follow and to ignore. Fr. Mike Schmitz explains Old Testament laws in this Ascension Press video:

— 4 —

Pope Francis’ recent visit to the US has renewed interest in his chosen namesake. Jeff Harris at Sword of Peter contrasts the false vision of St. Francis with the real one:

— 5 —

The televised political debates are media biased, choreographed political theatre and mostly a waste of time, IMHO. There are two video clips however worthy of some attention. They are both about progressive media forums, beginning with the recent Republican debate. I have heard people say the question is not which candidate won, but rather that the Republican’s won and the networklost. This clip illustrates it well:

The second clip is on the Democratic debate. It’s a good summary from EWTN:

— 6 —

There is little liberal arts education anymore. Instead of learning to think, college students are indoctrinated. You may be surprised by how far this has gone.

— 7 —

Trump’s numbers are down, but regardless if they rise again or not, he has had an impact. Bill Whittle explains:


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: synod battle

The Synod on the Family is finally over, thank God. Within the next year or so, Pope Francis will (probably, although not necessarily) produce a document with some level of papal authority on it. The Holy Father is free to reject or accept the synod’s recommendations as synods have no authority beyond advisory.

There is much ink being spilled in summary. I urge you in the strongest way to ignore the mainstream media, as always. They simply do not understand the Church, view everything in a secular political framework and as usual, are thoroughly non-objective in the promotion of their own agendas. Also please avoid secular, political mainstream media want-to-be outlets flying under a false Catholic banner (e.g. the “National Catholic Reporter“). This of course is always my advice, regardless of topic.

For the faithful Catholic media (which is the vast majority of it), reaction is mixed. Many are relieved that the synod was not as bad as it could have been. Some are now suggesting the intrigue was overblown. They are wrong and too fast to put on rose-colored glasses. The manipulations before and during are shocking, numerous, very well documented and acknowledged by many faithful bishops. What may have been a surprise to the modernist plans is the ferocity of the response. Even though selection of participants to the synod were stacked to a clearly progressive side, even though some of those were promoting (a kind word considering their heavy-handed machinations to force) even heretical positions, their success was limited — at least this time. The faithful cardinals and bishops refused to surrender, thank God.

I suspect that some wanted to make this into a mini-Vatican III with enough vagueness in its outcome to facilitate ignoring in practice that which can not be changed. Unlike the time of and following Vatican II, we have the Internet now and the back-room shennigans could not be hidden.

In the end, the final document produced by the synod is 91 paragraphs of solid Catholic teaching plus 3 paragraphs of (#84, 85 and 86) that were barely approved by the (remember, stacked) representatives that include sufficient vagueness to justify questionable “pastoral response” to “remarried” Catholics. This is important.

The “remarried” Catholics spoken of are in fact NOT remarried. Valid marriage is indissoluble during the life of the spouses. This circumstance is (1) those who have had a putatively valid marriage, (2) whose spouse is still alive, (3) who have civilly divorced and civilly “remarried,” and (4) have not received a declaration of nullity. OFTEN, they were married in the Catholic Church and knew full well their marriages were indissoluble, could not be “remarried” in the Church, went ahead with this elsewhere anyway and for whatever reason have not sought or were denied an annullment.

Such people are our brothers and sisters, Catholics, and often now understand the gravity of their grave mistake. They need our support and respect, yet they have gotten themselves into a real pickle. Nothing changes the fact that conjugal relations with someone other than their spouse is objectively the mortal sin of adultery. Yet, some long for the Eucharist for the right reasons while others simply want false affirmation of their sinful state. Either way, living in this state of mortal sin and knowingly receiving the Eucharist makes their situation worse – much, much worse.

Time will tell how the pastoral responses given cover in those 3 paragraphs play out. I firmly believe significant abuses will become the norm in certain areas (Germany will lead the list) and that a future pope will be forced to correct them. Those abuses, will be under a banner of false “mercy” distributing “cheap grace” to the flock – disastrous for their eternal well-being. This topic was addressed last weak by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver in his Excellency’s archdiocesan paper.

Following the words of Christ himself, the Church has always taught that divorce and remarriage is simply adultery by another name


The idea that Catholics should be allowed to remarry and receive communion did not begin with the letter signed by Cardinal Kasper and other members of the German episcopate in 1993. Another country’s episcopate — England’s — pioneered this experiment in Christian doctrine nearly 500 years ago. At stake then was not just whether any Catholic could remarry, but whether the king could, since his wife had not borne him a son.

As with those who advocate for communion for the civilly remarried, the English bishops were uncomfortable with embracing divorce and remarriage outright. Instead, they chose to bend the law to the individual circumstances of the case with which they were confronted, and King Henry VIII was granted an “annulment” — on a fraudulent basis and without the sanction of Rome.

If “heroism is not for the average Christian,” as the German Cardinal Walter Kasper has put it, it certainly wasn’t for the King of England. Instead, issues of personal happiness and the well-being of a country made a strong utilitarian argument for Henry’s divorce. And the King could hardly be bothered to skip communion as the result of an irregular marriage.

England’s Cardinal Wolsey and all the country’s bishops, with the exception of Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, supported the king’s attempt to undo his first — and legitimate — marriage. Like Fisher, Thomas More a layman and the king’s chancellor, also withheld his support. Both were martyred — and later canonized.

In publicly advocating that the king’s marriage was indissoluble, Fisher argued that “this marriage of the king and queen can be dissolved by no power, human or Divine.” For this principle, he said, he was willing to give his life. He continued by noting that John the Baptist saw no way to “die more gloriously than in the cause of marriage,” despite the fact that marriage then “was not so holy at that time as it has now become by the shedding of Christ’s Blood.”

Like Thomas More and John the Baptist, Fisher was beheaded, and like them, he is called “saint.”

At the Synod on the Family taking place right now in Rome, some of the German bishops and their supporters are pushing for the Church to allow those who are both divorced and remarried to receive communion, while other bishops from around the world are insisting that the Church cannot change Christ’s teaching. And this begs a question: Do the German bishops believe that Sts. Thomas More and John Fischer sacrificed their lives in vain?

Jesus showed us throughout his ministry that heroic sacrifice is required to follow him. When one reads the Gospel with an open heart, a heart that does not place the world and history above the Gospel and Tradition, one sees the cost of discipleship to which every disciple is called. The German bishops would do well to read, “The Cost of Discipleship” by the Lutheran martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For what they promote is “cheap grace” rather than “costly grace,” and they even seem to ignore the words of Jesus that, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” (Mk. 8: 34, Lk. 14: 25-27, Jn. 12: 24-26).

Think, for example, of the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees presented to Jesus to trap him. The first thing he did was to protect her from her accusers, and the second thing he did was to call her to leave her sin. “Go,” he commanded her, “and sin no more.”

Following the words of Christ himself, the Catholic Church has always taught that divorce and remarriage is simply adultery by another name. And since communion is reserved to Catholics in the state of grace, those living in an irregular situation are not able participate in that aspect of the life of the Church, though they should always be welcomed within the parish and at the Mass itself.

Last May, Cardinal Kasper claimed in an interview with Commonweal that we “can’t say whether it is ongoing adultery” when a repentant, divorced Christian nonetheless engages in “sexual relations” in a new union. Rather, he thinks “absolution is possible.”

And yet, Christ clearly called remarriage adultery and said adultery was sinful (Mt. 5:32, Mk. 10:12, Lk. 16:18). In the case of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42), Jesus also confirmed that remarriage cannot be valid, even when informed by sincere feeling and fidelity.

Archbishop Aquila continues with more rock-solid, Catholic catechesis. Read the entire piece: Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?.

Remember – Jesus is the source of this crystal-clear, unchangeable, timeless truth.

Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?”

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

Elsewhere: conscience alone

The Protestant revolution is famous for the five “solas” it invented as new doctrine. Sola scriptura (scripture alone), for example, is the doctrine that the Bible alone is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. While the thousands of Protestant denominations are “all over the map” on what they believe, the 4 other more common solas include sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone) and soli deo gloria (glory to God alone).

These are false of course. As Catholics, we fully believe that sacred scripture is the inerrant word of God. It was the Catholic Church after all, who discerned the canon of sacred scripture in the first place. However, we also know that nothing revealed by Christ or the Apostles proclaimed that the faith would be known only by a book assembled 400 years after the time of our Lord. The Bible itself makes no such claim, but does indeed tell us of oral Tradition and the responsibility of the Church (the Magisterium).

The Protestant novelty of sola scritura is not completely wrong in that it recognizes the importance of the Bible. It utterly fails in rejecting the other two legs faith, which all work together for the complete and accurate picture.

In this time of the current synod on the family and the rise of certain progressive cardinals and bishops, we may be on the verge of inventing our very own sola. I call the new Catholic sola “sola conscientia” which means by conscience alone.

Like the Protestant solas, conscience *does* have an important role in morality. The Catechism offers a good summary in paragraphs 1776 to 1802. It can not be understood correctly as a soundbite. Importantly, it must also be “well-formed” not a subjective opinion of “well-formed” but objectively so.

Conscience is now being raised in ambiguous ways to give completely false moral cover to sinful acts. The new archbishop of Chicago has been in the news for doing just that. Samuel Gregg wrote about it for Crisis Magazine:

Conscience is one of those subjects about which numerous Catholics today are, alas, sadly misinformed. Despite great Catholic minds such as Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and John Henry Newman discoursing at length on the question, some Catholics speak of it in ways that have little in common with the Church’s understanding of conscience.

The latest Catholic to be embroiled in controversy about conscience is Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago. While recently discussing the question of whether those who have (1) not repented of sin, and/or (2) not resolved to go and sin no more may receive communion, Archbishop Cupich stated: “If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.” Referring specifically to people with same-sex attraction, he noted that “my role as a pastor is to help them to discern what the will of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church and yet, at the same time, helping them through a period of discernment to understand what God is calling them to at that point.”

This isn’t the first time that Archbishop Cupich has raised eyebrows. Many will recall what some regard as the effective equivalence he made between Planned Parenthood’s selling of body-parts and problems like homelessness and hunger.

Then there was his more recent speech to the Chicago Federation of Labor. Alongside a defense of religious liberty, most of the Archbishop’s address simply reiterated Catholic social teaching about unions. Perhaps it wasn’t the occasion to say such things, but absent from Archbishop Cupich’s remarks was any reference to the numerous caveats stated by popes – such as those detailed by Blessed Paul VI (who no-one would describe as a gung-ho anti-union capitalist) in his 1971 apostolic letter Octogesima Adveniens (no.14) and Saint John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens (no.20) – concerning the very real limits upon what unions may do. Unfortunately, modern America is awash with examples of what happens when unions (in collusion with business executives who go along to get along) ignore those limits, as broken cities such as Detroit know all too well.

Aspects of Archbishop Cupich’s comments about conscience, however, will remind some of arguments made by various theologians in the 1970s and ?80s as part of their effort to legitimize dissent from Catholic moral teaching. Certainly, Archbishop Cupich stressed the importance of priests conveying the Church’s objective moral teaching to people who consider themselves marginalized by that teaching (presumably because it does not and cannot affirm some of their free choices). But a significant omission in the archbishop’s statements concerned why conscience is inviolable. As Vatican II stated in Gaudium et Spes, conscience draws its inviolability from its “obedience” to the truth, or what the Council called the “law written by God? (GS 16).

So where is this truth and law to be found? On one level, we discover it in the natural law. Saint Paul famously stated (Rm 2: 14-16) that this is knowable by everyone who possesses reason, including those who don’t know the Word of God revealed in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. For people, however, who also believe in Christ and accept that the fullest account of Christ’s life and teaching is to be found in the witness of the Catholic Church, the very same truths about morality are also expressed, confirmed, and enriched by that same Church’s moral teaching.

These simple points lead to profound conclusions. One is that conscience doesn’t create its own truth. Nor is it above truth. The oft-used phrase “primacy of conscience” makes no sense in Catholicism unless we accept that conscience’s authority is derived from every person’s responsibility to know and live in the truth encapsulated in the divine and natural law. In Newman’s words, “Conscience has rights because it has duties.”

It follows that conscience cannot be construed as a mandate for us to depart from the truth whenever it clashes with our desires. Catholicism has never held that conscience is somehow superior to the divine and natural law. To claim, therefore, that our conscience somehow authorizes us to act in ways that we know contradict what Christ’s Church teaches to be the truth about good and evil is, at a minimum, illogical from the Catholic standpoint.

The piece continues and is very good. Read it all at: An Archbishop and the Catholic Conscience.

Review: Unraveling My Father’s Suicide

Unraveling My Father's Suicide

Unraveling My Father’s Suicide is Catholic revert and blogger Kathleen Laplante’s memoir exploring the impact that her father’s suicide has had on her family. Roger Laplante died on Kathleen’s 21st birthday, the same age his father was when he too died in “suspicious circumstances”. Kathleen’s cousin Mark also died by his own hand a few years later, as did her cousin’s daughter Ruth.

The memoir details Kathleen’s family life, her struggle with depression, and her Catholic faith. It was and continues to be a difficult journey.

Of particular interest are the unique struggles of families who have lived through suicides and the heavy toll it takes. The damage includes the loss of the person, but also leaves a lasting and malignant scar on the survivors. There is no getting over it, just living day by day and working to save future generations.

You will find this book to be a window into one family’s story. The book will be of particular interest to those who have suffered this in their own family or who are close with others who have.

People often think of family legacy in terms of material goods passed from one generation to another. Money in the bank, a life insurance payout, grandma’s old clock, and the antique piano come to mind. Legacy, however, refers to intangibles as well: a grandmother’s legacy of love and respect, a legacy at a university, and a legacy of pain from the Great Depression. I never considered something as horrific as suicide to be a legacy, but the concept emerged more clearly during my research for this book.

I found its oppressive force contaminating past and current generations of my family tree, and I became suspicious that it was a factor in the unfolding of our genealogy. By no means is suicide a desirable family legacy, but it is a real one. In a relatively brief thirty-year time span in my family, there were two suicides, one nonfatal suicide attempt, and four ongoing battles against its mental and physical torment.

The book is available in inexpensive paperback and e-book formats. It is 151 pages long, divided into the following chapters:

  1. Into the Abyss
  2. After the Funeral
  3. Return to the Mausoleum
  4. The Holy Catholic Bible
  5. The Family Legacy
  6. My Unrelenting Ideation
  7. My Birthday
  8. The Quest for Treatment
  9. Further Investigation
  10. Memorials
  11. Intimacy
  12. Turning Fifty
  13. Silver Linings

Additionally, there is a preface, introduction, epilogue, photographs, appendices, notes, resources, acknowledgments and information about the author. After each chapter is a “Memorable Minutiae” with the author’s brief recollections of an event in her life.

This is an interesting, though not an entertaining book! However, if you or someone close to you has suffered with suicide and its lasting impact, this book will offer insights that may help on that journey.

Very Messy Church Synod

The Catholic Church is a very messy place. It is full of flawed people (well over a billion). We all hope to become saints, but for now we are all sinners, every one of us.

That is why we need the Church.

Her mission is to spread the Good News, without distortion, in order to help as many people as possible get to Heaven.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.

When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power 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 behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

There is no other institution like the Catholic Church. Absolutely none. This is the institution Christ himself founded, the only one.

What is a synod?

Simply put, a synod is nothing more than a fancy word for an advisory committee. Nothing more. It includes only a small fraction of the Magisterium. At its conclusion, it will make recommendations to the Holy Father.

The current Synod on the Family

I have avoided writing about this, hoping and praying that numerous reports are over-reacting. You might find this hard to believe. It is certainly deeply disappointing, but please try to keep it in perspective..

This synod, very unfortunately, is a failure. If you have been following faithful Catholic media, you are already aware of the myriad of problems. These include:

  • non-representative participation – the synod members (“synod fathers”) are not drawn from the vast majority (the good shepherds) who represent worldwide Catholicism of the ages, but instead skew heavily toward the modernist “progressive” end of the spectrum; some members have openly promoted heretical positions long before their invitation to the synod.
  • non-transparency – information flow has been anything but open. Press credentials are given to new (even non-Catholic) media with apparent heterodox agendas while actually revoked from other long-standing faithful media (even clergy). Transcripts are not provided. Official translators, mostly from progressive ranks, give their own personal summaries which have been shown to exaggerate progressive views while omitting traditional, faithful ones which were (often strongly) expressed.
  • “shadow synods” – groups pushing progressive agendas have been working in a political style, in private, strategizing how to steer the result.
  • pre-determined results – credible reports of at least draft forms of the final synod recommendations are persistent, including prior to the synod starting.
  • extraordinary synod experiences – the shennigans from the preparatory synod last Fall are legion and quite well documented. This has NOT resulted in effective reforms for the synod itself. If anything, circumstances are worse.
  • synod rules – differ from previous synods and are a major facilitator of the problems.
  • wide ranging issues – the purpose of this synod is to strengthen the family, yet non-related homosexual issues and women’s ordination to the diaconate have been permitted while faithful bishops have been shutdown when supporting the continuous teaching of the Church.

Response of the Faithful

Over 800,000 people, including many Bishops and Cardinals, have signed an extraordinary Filial Appeal to Pope Francis asking for clarification.

During the synod, a group of Cardinals (including Cardinal Dolan of New York City) have written to Pope Francis expressing their alarm.

Numerous books by groups of faithful Cardinals and Bishops have been authored in response to the false, dangerous proposals some have made in the last few years which are coming to a climax now.

Probable Outcome

Doctrine is inerrant and therefore can not be changed (ever), so accept that as a given.

The synod itself may or may not produce a public final report. If it does, expect it to be ambiguous and contradictory. The committee tasked with writing it is clearly stacked. Pope Francis might take no action. If he does, expect approval of “pastoral responses” to “certain needs” which he either specifies OR leaves up to national bishop conferences.

Either way, the net result of this in much of Europe (Germany for sure while Poland not at all) and certain non-European areas (including parts of the US), will be an increase in significant abuses. This is similar to the pattern that followed Vatican II. People will be led away from truth to their eternal detriment.

There is talk of this causing schism (that won’t happen, but true unity will suffer). Bishops are being urged to walk away from the synod should it be necessary for them to show their strongest disagreement with its often outrageous conduct and false conclusions.

YET, the Church will survive. We may see harmful turmoil, but in the end the Church will pull together, possibly smaller, but stronger than ever. Perhaps it will be under a different pope and not in our lifetimes. This remains the Church Christ founded, it can be wounded, but the gates of Hell can not prevail.

As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?”

He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.

For now, pray. Pray for the faithful bishops who fight against this stacked deck. Pray for the heterodox bishops who seek compromise with the fallen world under a banner of false mercy. Pray for Pope Francis, that he strongly and clearly lead the Church in the truth of Christ.

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