Friday, October 24, 2014


My only comment is the critique of the German bishops and how they see themselves as the center and gravely offended the periphery, like the Church in Africa! This is the best critique of the synod and is found in the National Catholic Register, here.

10/23/2014 CNA
Before the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome began Oct. 5, I wrote that my first hope for the fortnight would be that “it does no harm to those efforts in parishes around the world to propose the blessed and demanding vocation of Christian marriage.”

The danger of even low expectations is that they can be dashed.

The synod was not primarily concerned with offering encouragement to young couples eager to embrace the great adventure of Catholic marriage. The couples who are living with quiet heroism the blessings and burdens of that adventure appeared in the background of the synod’s focus.

On the contrary, the synod stirred up giddy excitement among those — both within and without the family of faith — desirous that the Church would finally make its peace with the “sexual revolution.” The beatification of Pope Paul VI at the conclusion of the synod should have signified that rank capitulation on moral teaching was never in the cards, but it was destabilizing to hear some prelates speak rather loosely about the Christian tradition on marriage, chastity and family life.

Yet what left me astonished was that, after 18 months of Pope Francis dominating world headlines, the synod seemed strangely out of sorts with his priorities. This synod badly failed Pope Francis’ bold vision for the Church in 11 distinct ways.

First, the methodology of the synod did not allow sufficient space for the heart of the Church’s missionary proclamation, namely the joy of the Gospel.

While several fathers spoke of the moving testimonies of married couples that began each day’s proceedings, they were an exception to the synod’s work. From the initial worldwide survey to the daily press conferences, the topics that were consistently placed at the forefront were the problems and difficulties of marriage and family life. The supposed topic of the synod was the care of the family in the context of evangelization, and evangelization begins with a conviction that there is a Gospel — the Good News — to share. The synod focused on the problems and not the proclamation.
There was too much hand-wringing and not enough joy.

Second, the agenda for the synod was decidedly worldly.

On his return flight from the Holy Land, the Holy Father said that his agenda was to address the “global” situation of the family, and he “did not like” the dominance of the issue of civilly remarried divorcees. The Church’s principal worry is not that too many people are getting divorced and remarried, but that too few are getting married in the first place. The world’s agenda is divorce, cohabitation and same-sex “marriage.” The synod succumbed to the worldliness Francis inveighs against constantly. The practical agenda for this synod was too much New York Times and not enough New Testament.

Third, the manipulation of the synod’s proceedings and messages was unworthy of a Roman Curia that the Holy Father has almost daily urged to avoid gossip, intrigues and ambition.

Senior bishops from all five continents publicly denounced the behind-the-scenes decisions that only selectively reported on the content of synod interventions, culminating with the midterm report that captured world headlines but did not capture honestly what had actually been said by the participants.

Francis famously denounced the power games of the royal court as the “leprosy” of the papacy, yet the synod was infected by just that. If it is not corrected soon, we have to look forward to an entire year of not listening to the Holy Spirit, but, instead, continued backroom machinations, mendacity and maneuvering.

Fourth, the synod turned inside out the Holy Father’s preference for the peripheries rather than the center.

The world’s most bureaucratic, wealthy, institutionally heavy and intellectually credentialed national Church — Germany — was granted an influence completely disproportionate to the diminishing vitality of its life of worship and witness. Meanwhile, the young local Churches on the periphery were sidelined and even disrespected. It must have been gravely insulting, though he bore it in patient silence, for the first pope from the global south to listen to lectures from the privileged, professorial, clerical caste of the European episcopate as if it was 1869 again, when at the First Vatican Council fully half of all the bishops were either Italian or French. The witness of ordinary Catholics in the young Churches of Africa and Asia took a backseat to the preoccupations of the clerical establishment in Europe. In Francis’ Church, the rich should not get a bigger say than the poor. At the synod they did.

Fifth, the synod was not about the Church going out of herself, but looking inward.
When which cardinal gets appointed to which drafting commission is a dominant story, the Church is in danger of becoming exactly what Francis does not want — self-referential and closed in on itself.
Sixth, the synod did not highlight the encouraging accompaniment of Pope Francis.

At his Valentine’s Day encounter with engaged couples, Francis spoke to them simply and directly about what makes for a happy marriage — spouses who say “thank you,” “excuse me” and “I am sorry.” This wholesome and homey engagement with married life was missing at the synod, replaced instead by more controversial questions.

Seventh, the synod was not a collegial exercise in its major pronouncements.

An elite group of managers did not pay heed to what the majority of the synod participants said. It is not always the case that they have to do so, but Francis speaks of the synod as “journeying together.” On this journey, there were certainly some fathers who seized the direction and expected the others to follow.

Eighth, as was noted after the midterm report was released, the synod seemed to forget about sin.

It was hardly mentioned. Very strange for a synod convened by Pope Francis, who, when asked to describe himself last year, said simply, “I am a sinner.” It is key to Francis’ thinking that the “privileged” place of encounter with the Lord is experiencing Divine Mercy upon our sins. Francis talks about sin and mercy together; the synod seemed to forget the former, which makes the latter less urgent.

Ninth, at the canonization of Pope St. John Paul II in April, the Holy Father proposed him to the Church as the “Pope of the Family.”

At the synod, he was almost entirely forgotten. A pope who wrote the very rich Familiaris Consortio after the 1980 synod on the family and devoted four years to the theology of the body should have been the starting point for the synod. As for mercy, St. John Paul II devoted an entire encyclical to Divine Mercy. Yet his teaching and the scholars from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family were overlooked in the synod’s work.

Tenth, the synod ignored Francis’ repeated exhortation that all generations need each other — the young need the elderly, and the elderly need the young.

Even in his affectionate references to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “grandfather,” Francis has a deep sense of the extended family as a bridge between generations. In the focus on the divorced, cohabiting and same-sex couples, the younger and older generations were neglected, even though they are a critical part of the family.

Eleventh, if the Church is to be the “field hospital” for a modern world full of wounded people, it is necessary to know the nature of the diseases and wounds that the modern world suffers from.
The hearts of contemporary men and women have been hurt grievously by the “throwaway” culture bequeathed by the sexual revolution. Doctors who do not diagnose properly are of little help in offering effective treatment. In his closing address, Francis identified this as a lack in the synod, which was tempted to bind up wounds without curing their causes.

The Church now waits for another synod next October. Will it be more recognizably what Pope Francis proposes to a Church of missionary disciples? Or will it remain a worldly exercise?

The experience of synod 2014 is not promising.
Father Raymond J. de Souza is editor in chief of Convivium magazine.
He was the Register’s Rome correspondent from 1998-2003.


Looking good and healthy!
These are some interesting words from the pope! Should I characterize these words as a BOMBSHELL? You read and you decide! My comments in red.

Retired pope says interreligious dialogue no substitute for mission

By  Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service
  • October 23, 2014
VATICAN CITY - Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as "lethal to faith." He also said the true motivation for missionary work is not to increase the church's size but to share the joy of knowing Christ. (To be honest with you, this makes great sense because it is sober and common sense!)

The retired pope's words appeared in written remarks to faculty members and students at Rome's Pontifical Urbanian University, which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, read the 1,800-word message aloud Oct. 21, at a ceremony dedicating the university's renovated main lecture hall to the retired pope.

The speech is one of a handful of public statements, including an interview and a published letter to a journalist, that Pope Benedict has made since he retired in February 2013.

"The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people," retired Pope Benedict wrote. "'But does that still apply?' many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. 'Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?' The counter-question is: 'Can dialogue substitute for mission?'

"In fact, many today think religions should respect each other and, in their dialogue, become a common force for peace. According to this way of thinking, it is usually taken for granted that different religions are variants of one and the same reality," the retired pope wrote. "The question of truth, that which originally motivated Christians more than any other, is here put inside parentheses. It is assumed that the authentic truth about God is in the last analysis unreachable and that at best one can represent the ineffable with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems realistic and useful for peace among religions in the world. (In clear and unambiguous ways, Pope Benedict teaches the truth and raises the alarm in today's Church cascading toward universalism and falsehood! His Holiness raises an alarm!)

"It is nevertheless lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and its seriousness, everything is reduced to interchangeable symbols, capable of referring only distantly to the inaccessible mystery of the divine," he wrote. (I am telling you, these are bombshell words in today's Church!)

Pope Benedict wrote that some religions, particularly "tribal religions," are "waiting for the encounter with Jesus Christ," but that this "encounter is always reciprocal. Christ is waiting for their history, their wisdom, their vision of the things." This encounter can also give new life to Christianity, which has grown tired in its historical heartlands, he wrote.

"We proclaim Jesus Christ not to procure as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power," the retired pope wrote. "We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us." (Thank you Pope Benedict for your clear, beautiful, serene and prophetic words for a Church in turmoil today, a Church in a mess!)


From the Vatican Insider:

Lefebvrians: “Rome doesn’t plan on imposing a capitulation”

Mgr. Guido Pozzo reports on the latest developments in relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X

Marco Tosatti vatican city
In an interview with authoritative French weekly magazine Famille Chr├ętienne, the Secretary of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Guido Pozzo, discussed the state of relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X following Mgr. Fellay’s recent meeting with the Prefect of the Doctrine for the Faith. From the interview, it would seem that the Holy See does not intend to put any pressure on Mgr. Lefebvre’s followers but would like an agreement to be reached, although the timeframe for this is uncertain. What we are given to understand here, is that Rome intends to show greater flexibility on any aspect that does not regard doctrine.
In 2009 Benedict XVI decided to revoke the  excommunication of Lefebvrian bishops who had been illicitly ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre in 1988. This was a first and essential step toward the resumption of a constructive dialogue. Just a first step, however, because there were still some big doctrinal questions which needed to be addressed. The Ecclesia Dei Commission which has close links with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the main instrument in this dialogue process.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is that which addressed the sticking points in said dialogue. Mgr. Pozzo underlined that “any reservations or positions the Society of St. Pius X may have regarding aspects which are not related to faith but to pastoral questions or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium do not necessarily need to withdrawn or relinquished.” Here Rome seems to be showing an attempt to alter positions expressed in the past: According to Mgr. Pozzo, the fraternity’s reservations are linked to “aspects of pastoral care or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium.” The monsignor’s statement suggests that since these criticisms and reservations are no longer labelled as “doctrinal” the Lefebvrians could legitimately continue to express them.
This approach is expressed more clearly in the following part of the interview:  “The Holy See does not wish to impose a capitulation on the SSPX. On the contrary, it invites the fraternity to stand beside it within the same framework of doctrinal principles that is necessary in guaranteeing the same adhesion to the faith and Catholic doctrine on the Magisterium and the Tradition. At the same time, there is room for further reflection on the reservations the fraternity has expressed regarding certain aspects and the wording of the Second Vatican Council documents as well as some reforms that followed but which do not refer to subjects which are dogmatically or doctrinally indisputable.”
Finally, one other very important clarification was made: “There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them”, whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism “are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.”

It is unclear how long this process is going to take: “I don’t think it is possible to say yet when this process will conclude,” Mgr. Pozzo said. Both sides are committed to taking things step by step. “There will be no unexpected shortcuts; the clearly stated aim is to promote unity through the generosity of the universal Church led by the successor of Peter.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014


A physician who recently returned to New York City from West Africatested positive for the Ebola virus, a law enforcement official tells CNN.


October 23, 2014
Cardinal Burke: From Under the Bus Into the Widow's Web

By Frank Walker

In yesterday’s Vortex Michael Voris apologized for informing people about Cardinal Burke’s warning to the Pope last week. Burke publicly told the Pope to stop ‘harming the Church’ by staying silent in the face of the heterodox direction of the Synod. The Vortex reacted with the breaking story but later deleted the report. In a second Vortex Michael explained that the story had violated his code against criticizing popes. He believed his report was a sin and he’d given scandal. This prompted some appreciation from the liberal and flowery queen of Patheos, Elizabeth Scalia.
Good for Voris. A manful apology and restatement of his mission, and a sound refutation of a contingent of Catholics who are becoming increasingly unhinged toward Pope Francis and vile toward any who will not agree that he is an antipope and a threat to the church. I myself deleted several comments about Pope Francis today, including one calling him “Frank the Fraud”, and I dropped a banhammer on someone actively wishing for his death.
From here Scalia pours venom on the combox people she’s encountered, with their ‘idols’, their love for Fr. Corapi, their conservatism and their ‘republican longings.’ Into this nest of contempt she then drops Cardinal Burke, the man who said the thing that Michael Voris went to Confession for reporting.
For the folks raising them and then casting them down, Conservative Ideology has become a huge idol (what I call in my book a “Super Idol” — one that looms so large it blocks off connection to the humanity of others). Like the pagans of old they are forever trying to serve their idol with the purest of their offerings.
Something similar is going on within the Catholic church where, for some, good Pope Saint Pius X remains the be-all-and-end-all of Catholic thought and rigorous expression. For them, John Paul II had some good moments and some dicey ones, and Benedict XVI was exemplary, but only until he resigned his office and — like a dupe of the devil — brought about this terrible, awful, no-good, teeth-gnashing, and heretical Franciscan papacy.
This is all idolatry, whether secular or sacred or — thanks to the culture wars — a commingling of both.
It is the mania to have something before our eyes that — like the golden calf — reflects ourselves and our thinking back to us, and therefore affirms us in our rightness. For some traditionalist Catholics, Francis is not adequately mirroring them back to themselves, and so he is to be despised. For them, Cardinal Burke is the new idol of choice, the “living saint” of a canon lawyer who will save the church from unruly Francis, otherwise it will be the end of the church and the end of the world!
Nothing human will effect the end of the church, unless God wishes it, and as to the end of the world, do we mean it when we say “we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord” or don’t we? If we don’t mean it that might explain a lot. But it also indicts ourselves, and our prayer, as lacking in truth, and in faith.


Update: also on the left far back is Davison's Department Store (Macy's) where I worked from 1972 to 1976 (two years later it moved to the Mall and eventually took on the name of its owner, Macy's). Also, Broad Street was the second widest downtown street in the USA second only to New Orlean's Canal Street. (Unfortunately, the famous architect I.M. Pei changed that in the 1970's to keep people downtown by building a building in the middle of the street, created sunken parking and a clear divide in the middle that became tree-lined. Pluses and minuses with the new look.

I love this photo for two reasons: first it shows all these glorious parking meters and second it is downtown Augusta in 1958 and how I remembered it in the 1960's and 70's prior to it being "malled" to death around 1978. Parking meters were removed around the 1980's. But there is talk about placing new ones back!

In this period of downtown Augusta, going there on a Saturday was like being in New York City, there were so many people, cars and traffic. The sidewalks were packed with moving people. All the stores and entertainment were on Broad Street and side streets. Oh for the memories. I wish it could return, but alas!
Please notice the War Monument to all our Confederate dead. A Confederate soldier is atop the monument but not seen in this photo of the monument. It is still there.


 Looking quite papal!
You can read the entire story from Reuters HERE, but I will highlight the topics they cover! It is quite good to say the least!

What the Catholic synod that discussed divorced, LGBT believers did – and didn’t – do

By James Martin
October 23, 2014

What did the synod do?

1. Fostered openness
2. Addressed important topics. 
3. Set an agenda

What did the synod not do?
1. Change church teaching
2. Cause schism
3. Offend the pope


I know for a fact that in the poorer black Christian denominations of the south, the members of particular congregations want their pastor to live well. He will normally have a very nice house, compared to them, drive a very nice car(s) and have nice jewelry to wear.  Perhaps the members of these denominations live vicariously through their pastors and see an upward mobility in them not only in this life but the life to come.

Catholic bishops around the world were accorded a similar sort of status in terms of their "regalness" and where they lived. The pope too, in terms of the Apostolic Palace, now a museum of sorts as Pope Francis lives in the Vatican Motel 6.

Now the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich has decided not to live in the Archbishop's mansion which has 14 fire places and is down right huge, but paid for I presume. I presume too others live there. So it is like an apartment, I suspect, for clergy and domestic help.

Bishop Raymond Lessard when he was the Bishop of Savannah chose not to live in a home in a regular neighborhood as his predecessors did. He moved into the Cathedral rectory. He had a large living room and bedroom/bath and a small chapel for the Blessed Sacrament and private Mass.  He lived humbly. He was named Bishop in 1973 and retired in 1995.  I lived with him in the Cathedral rectory for six years and with three other priests.

So what do you think? Should bishops live in cathedral rectories rather than separate residences or mansions?


I have written this before but now even Archbishop Charles Chaput is saying it, so I must be clairvoyant as I always knew I was.

He is suggesting that the day may come when the bishops will have to declare that no member of the clergy can act as an agent of the state for marriages.

What does this mean? It means that when a Catholic wants to solemnize their marriage in the Church they must (as always) procure a marriage license. But one step further must take place, they must have their legal or state marriage before the Judge Probate (Justice of the Peace) for the legal or state recognition of the marriage.

Once this takes place then the Church would solemnize the marriage with a Nuptial Liturgy. The priest would simply put the state's marriage license in the pre-nuptial file to indicate the legal or state aspects have been fulfilled prior to the Church's solemnization of the marriage.

The Church teaches that a member of the clergy cannot solemnize a marriage without it also being recognized by the state. Therefore the first step would be the state recognition of the marriage and then the Church's nuptial liturgy.

I believe this is already the norm in many European countries and quite common.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Last week saw a turning point in the Church. Where it will lead, I do not know, for contrary to my protests, I am not clairvoyant. There I said it!

Thanks to Michael Voris for this witness to his Catholic Faith and fidelity to Pope Francis!



You can read the complete post about the "mandatum at a wedding"  over at Praytell 

Basically, there is a trend in liturgical land to add the mandatum to the Nuptial liturgy. It is suppose to symbolize that they will be of service to each other and the wider community! It is a nice sentiment but I suspect my first creative suggestion below is better suited for the nuptial liturgy if we want to add to it and get creative. I'm told it is in the Sarum Rite although a bit modified.

However, now that Praytell has gotten me in the creative mood liturgically at least for Nuptial liturgies, let me make some creative suggestions to brides and grooms:

My number one pick first that will please rigid traditionalists as Pope Francis characterizes them!

Brides should cry, as they normally do at their weddings, and use their tears to wash the feet of their new husband as a reminder to her that she must completely submit to the authority of Christ, whom her bridegroom represents in all things in their marriage. She should then  dry the feet of her new husband and anoint them with oil and kiss them! How powerful would that be!

My number two pick which will please flaky, bleeding heart progressives has Pope Francis characterizes them:

At the end of Mass the bride and groom should "jump the broom" than in an act of true humility and servanthood, the bridegroom then picks up the broom and sweeps the aisle of the church clean of all debris left by the flower girl as she processed in dropping flower pedals. This will be a sign that the husband will share in the housework or do it completely. So sweet! No?

Can we "jump the shark" in liturgical creativity??? I ask; you respond!