Sunday, February 14, 2016



If you wish to see this live, go to the video of the Mass last night I have posted below this post and go to hour 2, minute 12, second 59. He actually falls, at hour 2, minute 13. Fortunately and by God's grace he fell into the chair that he would use to meditate before the image of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. If he had actually fallen on the floor, I believe His Holiness would have been injured as he was falling backwards.

 Here are screen shots of the moment. In the video, you can hear the thousands outside the basilica actually gasp and scream! 


 Except for this one, I can't find any still photos of the beautifully decorated altar with its marvelous frontal piece for Pope Francis' Mass yesterday at the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. It is interesting to me that most traditional bloggers don't realize that Pope Francis has maintained his predecessor's altar arrangement which is sometimes called "the Benedictine arrangement" but in fact is the pre-Vatican II arrangement.  Progressive blogs don't ever comment on Pope Francis' use of this or how high and long His Holiness elevates the Host and Chalice for all to adore. I find that interesting, don't you? At any rate the Mass in the modern splendor of this basilica will contrast sharply with the Mass Pope Francis celebrates for the poor in a shanty town.


At Deacon Kendra's Blog and before the body is even cold there is a question of whether or not Justice Antonin Scalia received the Last Rites.

This is what he writes and it appears that he is just as confused as anyone about what the Last Rites are:

More details are not known, though it’s been reported (perhaps incorrectly) that a priest had given Justice Scalia “last rites.” (That is actually a misnomer. It is properly called called The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.)

Of course the good deacon is wrong. In fact, a good deacon could offer "the last rites" of the Church to a dying or dead person even if the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, aka, Extreme Unction is not included. Of course a deacon or a lay person cannot offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick or Confession with the Apostolic Pardon, but either a deacon or a lay person can offer the portion of the ritual for the sick that includes prayers for the dying and once the person is dead, the prayers for the dead. They can also offer the dying person, if they are capable, Holy Communion   which would be that dying person's Last Communion and thus would be called Viaticum, Food for the Journey to the Throne of Judgement before Divine Mercy. These prayers and Viaticum would be the last rites too!

I often visit a dying person and offer them the last rites. For a dying person, the ministry of the Church at the hour of death is the last rites.

More importantly, the official prayers for the dead person at the moment of death are a part of the last rites.

With that said, it is incumbent on priests to make clear that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, aka, Extreme Unction is not to be used only at the point of death making it exclusively a "last rites" sacrament. It should be celebrated frequently for a chronically ill person for the purpose of spiritual and physical strength and healing provided by God's grace in this marvelous sacrament where Jesus becomes a soothing, healing ointment for body and soul.

But when I offer the Anointing of the Sick, aka, Extreme Unction, to a person on the verge of dying and include in it the apostolic absolution (which presumes sacramental confession) as well as Holy Communion as Viaticum and  the prayers for the dying found in our ritual for the sick that include the Litany of the Saints, this indeed composes THE LAST RITES of the Church and the term is a very good term to use. This ritual also includes prayers for one who has just died and these prayers are also a part of the Last Rites.

There is no hope that the person receiving what I just described will live in this temporal world. Through the celebration of  Last Rites, the Church Militant sends them with Christ their Advocate to their personal judgement before the throne of Divine Mercy.

Deacon Kandra does point out some good canonical advice though:

Some guidance:

The 1983 “Pastoral Care of the Sick, Rites of Anointing and Viaticum” translates par. #15:

When a priest has been called to attend those already dead, he should not administer the sacrament of anointing. Instead he should pray for them, asking that God forgive their sins, and graciously receive them into the kingdom. But if the priest is doubtful whether the sick person is dead, he may give the sacrament conditionally, (no. 269) (My comment: The prayers for the dead person exclusive of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, aka, Extreme Unction, is considered the Last Rites, even though it isn't a sacrament. The confusion that so many have, including the good deacon, is that the Last Rites must include the Sacraments of the Church, i.e. Confession, Anointing and Viaticum. While these can comprise the last rites for a person who is dying, any of these to include the prayers for the person who has just died would be the last rites of the Church. A lay person, in the absence of a bishop, priest or deacon, could offer the Church's prayers for the dead at the moment of death as a form of the last rites of the Church!)

And there is this:

An unspoken criteria, alluded to in canon 1005, is that the sick person must be alive. All the sacraments presume that the recipient is in the “wayfaring state” and has not departed this life for eternity. However, the Church permits anointing if there is doubt. The pastoral practice is to favor the person and anoint them, provided it is not certain that they are dead. This anointing should be absolute rather than conditional, as in the past. In 1983 the Congregation for Divine Worship, in keeping with this canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, deleted the conditional form of anointing from the ritual (“Promulgato Codice,” Notitiae 19 [1983] 551).

My final comments: I think most priests find it very frustrating, and they have no one to blame but themselves, to be called to the visit the dying person and in order not to make that person not feel frightened or to upset even more, some of the family members, he'll insist that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick isn't called the Last Rites anymore, it is now the Sacrament of healing for the person's comfort and we hope they'll get better.

The priest might have been called at 9 PM to the dying person and then after he leaves, the family calls him at 2 AM and wants him back for the Last Rites as the person is on the verge of dying or has already passed.

I now make it abundantly clear that what I am doing, when I am called to a dying person's death bed, is the Last Rites.

Saturday, February 13, 2016



It is quite concerning who will be nominated next, so pray for a good nomination or an openness to conversion for the next one and pray for our country.

Pray for the souls of all the faithful departed in particular Justice Scalia. Pray for his priest-son who I presume will celebrate his Requiem, Fr. Paul Scalia. I suspect too it will be a traditional Requiem and more than likely in the Extraordinary Form, but if not, an Ordinary Form Requiem with the proper chanted propers. Time will tell.


This is of course a solemn high Mass recently celebrated by Cardinal Burke. Although it is in Poland any priest prior to Vatican II could have gone to any country and celebrated the very same Mass he celebrated in his hometown and it would be exactly the same except of course for the homily that he would need a translator, but not the Mass itself. In other words, he would not need to be an expert in the Polish language or in any way be exposed to Polish in order to celebrate Mass to a packed church in Poland.

Please note that for the casual observer it is difficult to tell when the Mass actually begins and actually ends which is exactly as it is for the Divine Liturgy which is open ended and as though it has no beginning or end, quite mystical in this regard and shows how the EF Mass and Divine Liturgy come together in this regard.

Please note too how cultural developments over the ages led to different expressions in terms of the vestments, but very similar in high art and quality which the Orthodox have maintained to this day but the Latin Rite jettisoned over night with the new order Mass, inorganically in favor of low art and poor quality vestments devoid of ornamentation.  The same can be said about chant being jettisoned overnight and inorganically in favor of low art and poor quality music, something unheard of in the history of the Catholic Church, east or west!

The Cardinal also mentioned his – “very painful” as he emphasized – experiences connected with the consequences of liturgical reforms: the interior of the churches was re-ordered, with the most beautiful objects, especially the high-altars, removed. There was no longer careful attention paid to the sacred linens, vessels and vestments. It became common to hear “not very beautiful and often banal contemporary music. Latin was seldom or never heard. (...) A situation which was greatly aggravated by experimentations with the Rite never seemed to end”, he concluded.


Another question and answer translated at Deus Ex Machina Blog:
Layman: Your Eminence has very interesting observations about the crisis of men within the Church. I would like to ask Your Eminence what are the most important causes of this crisis and what kind of solutions could be suggested to end this crisis. For example, the Holy League that Your Eminence is a patron of is one solution. Maybe some sort of sacred fraternities, maybe a return of a spirit of knighthood or maybe some other ideas?

Cardinal Burke: The root causes of the crisis of the Church, especially the Church in the West are very deep and reach back in the past. Namely, they reach back to the age of enlightenment. 

While in the 1970’s a societal crisis ensued, which was rooted in the discarding of all authority was strengthened in a sense, with the liturgical crisis whose effects were the desacralization of the liturgy. And because of this, the people of God, the faithful in society found themselves in this crisis of authority, that propelled them toward this desacralization, and could not or did not receive any answers and did not have any support from the Church. And this caused this crisis to spread. 

In order to exit this crisis, in which we presently find ourselves in, two things are needed. The first is a deepening of the catechesis that is started from childhood through to adult life. What is needed is a deep and thorough, honest catechism  that provides the basis of faith. 

Today I encounter situations where faithful who want to defend their faith, are unable since they do not know its justifications (arguments). That addresses the first question: deep and thorough catechisis at all stages of development into adulthood. 

Second issue is the sacredness of the liturgy. We need to return the sense of sacredness to the liturgy that needs to be built on this fundamental concept that it is not us that create the liturgy, but the liturgy is an act, action, undertaking performed by Christ and this notion that it is not us that create the liturgy, but that everything is directed toward that which Christ provides for us, should break through and give an impulse in the most minute issues. So in the case of internal church decorations and all the small things that serve to make the liturgy, should all serve to underline the fact that in the liturgy, the actions are of Christ. Therefore, a deep catechisis and a sacred liturgy are the ways to exit from this crisis.


There is great concern that Pope Francis in his desire for what is called "healthy decentralization" of the Church will cause the Liturgy of the Church to devolve even more than it has and all based upon National Conferences of Bishops taking control of the Vernacular translation of the Latin language and style of the Liturgy.

Yet the model of decentralization that Pope Francis seems to desire is based upon the model of the Eastern Orthodox Churches where despite the decentralization there remains orthodoxy of doctrine, liturgy and life.  How does this happen and why can't it happen in a more decentralized Roman Catholic Church?

It must be pointed out that Pope St. John Paul II was viewed as a poor administrator and often exhibited poor judgement in the choice of bishops. It is also true that he was an absentee Bishop of Rome globetrotting here there and everywhere and very frequently.

Because of this the various dicasteries of the Curia began to take on an authority which they did not have and issued documents galore as though these were coming from the Pope. This accelerated in the last years of the pope when His Holiness became incompacitated. Much of the dysfunction in the Curia today with its power plays and authoritarian approach to dioceses can be traced to Pope St. John Paul's mismanagement of the curia.

I always found it interesting that when Cardinal Ratzinger issued documents from the CDF, he always had the approbation of Pope John Paul II, that the pope had reviewed and approved the document. This was especially true of the document stating that the Holy Roman Pontiff had no authority whatsoever to allow women to enter the Sacrament of Holy Orders. 

I don't think Pope Francis wants Conferences of Bishops to usurp the rightful role of each Bishop in his diocese just as he doesn't want low level curial offices at the Vatican to do so. In the past in the USA under Pope Paul VI, often Bishop's Conferences interfered with the rightful place of local bishops and the local bishop's authority over the liturgy and life of his diocese.

There were many dreadful documents coming from the Bishop's Conference that were pushed as though these where infallible teachings required for belief by every Catholic and that every bishop had to teach it.

Apart from moral teachings beyond the competence of bishops on specifics of war and the economy as well as the environment, there were documents issued by committees of the bishop's conference that were shoved down the throat of dioceses and parishes as though these were infallible papal teachings or encyclicals.

The two most offending documents from subcommittees of the Bishop's Conferences were documents turned into booklet on Church architecture and Environment as well as on Music in the Mass. Horrible documents both and both led to the iconoclasm that we see in older churches that were remodeled and newer ones that were constructed. And the music guidelines were equally as iconoclastic and horrible.

It seems to me that a decentralized Church means that the local bishop implements in his diocese what the Church teaches, not what Conferences of Bishops would like for the Church to teach.

When it comes to the vernacular translations of the Mass, conferences of bishops can work together but following the directives of Rome on how to translate. As much as some people disagree with the new and glorious English translation of the Mass, the guidelines were followed, the bishops proposed a translation, Rome reviewed it, tweaked it and gave its approval.

But more importantly, what does it mean for the Catholic Church to be synodal and to base its operations on the principles of subsidiarity?

All we have to do is to look to the Eastern Orthodox Churches as Pope Francis seems to be doing.

They are decentralized but have maintained orthodoxy and orthopraxis (right belief and right practice) in a scrupulous way with dogmas and doctrines as they have taught these since the Great Schism as well as with the form and format of their Divine Liturgies.  In their liturgies there is some diversity but a great deal of uniformity and no real silliness in vernacular translations or inculturation.

There is more uniformity in the Orthodox world from nation to nation when it comes to the Liturgy than there is in the Latin Rite from parish to parish.

The problem with the dysfunction in Catholic liturgy even in our currently highly centralized system of governance is not with Rome or National Conferences of Bishops, but with local bishops who are not "orthodox" when it come to the Liturgy and allow the liturgy to be a source of disunity in dioceses rather than unity and allow the liturgy to sink to the lowest common denominator and not the highest it can be simply by celebrating the current Ordinary Form Missal by the book and without excesses. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


At the Deus Ex Machina Blog there is a video of a presentation given by Cardinal Raymond Burke with questions and answers. These are the two most important questions and answers from His Eminence:

Priest: How does His Eminence see the role of the Tridentine liturgy in the normal, day to day life of the typical parish in Poland and elsewhere.

Answer: The best term that describes the existence of two forms of the Roman rite is the “mutual enrichment”about which speaks the papal document. There is no doubt about the fact that the post conciliar liturgical reform was very “firm” and “abrupt” and at times too overbearing. Today, there must be found a way under a co-existence of the two forms, that the two rites not be seen as opposites, but rather to strive to coexist and create the mutually enriching environment.

Cleric: What is the current status of the project of the hermeneutic of continuity in the Church. What kind of support does it have among the princes of the Church and does it have any future.

Answer: I am convinced that the form of the liturgy according to the hermeneutic of continuity is in fact alive and truly vital. I will allow myself to refer to an article published by Cardinal Sarah, Robert Sarah Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship , in an article that was published on the 12th of June of last year, in which the Cardinal expressly claims that he is, with his entire heart behind the reform in accordance with the hermeneutic of continuity and he will try to everything possible to continue the work started by Pope Benedict XVI. therefore, courage.

My Comment: The last sentence by Cardinal Burke sums it up--I've been right all along!


These paragraphs speak for themselves. The complete text below these important unambiguous paragraphs!

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.


Joint Declaration
of Pope Francis
and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.

It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.

It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.

We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.

We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.

We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm 15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!

Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis                                                         Kirill
Bishop of Rome                                           Patriarch of Moscow
Pope of the Catholic Church                       and all Russia


My comments in red in the body of the text from the NCR:

Reform groups accuse Switzerland's nuncio of publicly criticizing Pope Francis

of the UK's Tablet via the USA's National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) | 

Twelve Catholic reform groups (heterodox groups, lets be clear) have accused the papal nuncio in Switzerland, U.S. Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, of publicly criticizing Pope Francis and have called on the Swiss bishops' conference to proclaim that the Swiss church is fully committed to the Second Vatican Council. (No where in this article does it state what the Pope Francis appointed nuncio criticized about Pope Francis other than to say the good nuncio, like me, is ultramontane.)

The reform groups have formed an alliance entitled "Enough is Enough," and have warned the Swiss bishops that religious peace in Switzerland is endangered. "We are seriously concerned that the nuncio is splitting the Swiss church," the alliance says in its letter to the bishops.

Alliance member Markus Arnold, the head of the Religious Education Department at Lucerne University, has also written to Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann asking the president "not to allow Gullickson to have a long-term, poisonous effect on the climate in Switzerland. We have enough problems with religious fanaticism as it is. We do not need a nuncio who wants to revive this fanaticism in the Catholic church." (now the heterodox use the F word, fanaticism and also I guess fundamentalism, to describe the orthodox Catholic archbishop).

Arnold asked the president to ask the Swiss government to intervene with the Holy See. (This is how ugly the heterodox get, they will get the government to intervene to have their way and change Church teaching.)

Alliance member Erwin Koller, the president of the Herbert-Haag-Foundation for Freedom in the Church which awards the Herbert Hague Prize, told that "the way Gullickson is opposing Pope Francis is offensive. If a Swiss diplomat had said such things about the Swiss government, he would long since have been dismissed." (What did the Archbishop say, not a word on this in this article! What kind of reporting is this?)

The Swiss Catholic Women's Association, which is also a member of the alliance, has appealed to member of Parliament Doris Leuthard in a letter pointing out that as it is highly unlikely that Gullickson will change, he should be moved.

Gullickson, 65, is a keen blogger and Twitter-user and is not shy about openly expressing his opinions in the social media. He calls himself an "ultramontanist -- and proud to be one" and makes no secret of the fact that he sympathizes with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X. In several tweets, he has praised the elitism of St. Pius X priests. (I would like to know what this Pope Francis appointee in 2015 no less said that is any different that Pope Francis giving worldwide faculties to the SSPX to hear valid confessions of any Catholic during the year of Mercy.)

Ordained in Sioux Falls, S.D., Gullickson previously served as nuncio to the Caribbean states as well as Ukraine, before he was appointed to Switzerland by Pope Francis in September 2015.

He clashed with the well-known former Abbot of Einsiedeln, Martin Werlen, on Twitter last October. Werlen had expressed his astonishment that "a nuncio disseminates blogs which accuse the German bishops' conference of being heretical and has a predilection for linking ultra-conservative texts in his blogspot." (This says it all. Progressives don't like the word heretical when of course they are. They are in denial and resent being told they are in denial much like a family member who becomes incompetent insists on saying she is competent when everyone else is pointing out the obvious!)

Gullickson also operates a press review website on which he points to texts which demand the reintroduction of the Old Rite or in which Society of St. Pius X seminary dean, Franz Schmidberger, attacks the church hierarchy.

"The Second Vatican Council clearly condemned the anti-liberalism of the Pius popes and unambiguously committed itself to human rights," Koller told "If Gullickson is against the council, then he should join the SSPX, but he has no right to present such positions in the name of the church or the pope respectively."

[Christa Pongratz-Lippitt is the Austrian correspondent for the London-based weekly Catholic magazine The Tablet.]


Part I at 1:55 PM, Friday, February 12, 2016

Part II at 4:15 PM, Friday, February 12, 2016

Pope Francis' arrival in Mexico at 830 PM, Friday February 12,2016: