Saturday, March 31, 2018


Pope at Easter Vigil Mass: Break Silence. Overcome Fear.

During his Easter Vigil homily, Pope Francis challenges us not to stand speechless before the events of Holy Week, but to overcome our fears and to share in Jesus’ mission and message.
By Seàn-Patrick Lovett

Also known as the “night of nights”, the Easter Vigil is really the climax of the Triduum celebrations. It is on this night that we commemorate, through poignant words and powerful symbols, the death and Resurrection of Jesus. True to that symbolism, the ceremony begins outside the church, in darkness – and in silence.

Speechless before the Cross

This silence is one with which we can all identify, said Pope Francis in his homily. In the same way as Jesus’ disciples stood “speechless before the Cross”, incapable of “speaking out on behalf of their Master”, so too do we stand “speechless in the face of situations we cannot control” – believing that “nothing can be done to reverse all the injustices that our brothers and sisters are experiencing in the flesh”.

Overpowering silence

Darkness and silence disorient and paralyze us, said the Pope. They “plunge us into a crushing routine that robs memory, silences hope, and leads to thinking that ‘this is the way things have always been’”. Amid this “overpowering silence” it is the stones that “cry out” and proclaim “a new way for all”. Delivering his homily in St Peter’s Basilica ablaze with light, Pope Francis affirmed that: “Creation itself was the first to echo the triumph of life over all that had attempted to silence and stifle the joy of the Gospel”.

Overcoming fear

“Do not be afraid…for He is risen”. These words, according to Pope Francis, should “affect our deepest convictions and certainties”. They should challenge us and encourage us “to trust and believe that God ‘happens’ in every situation and in every person”. “He rose from the dead…and now He waits for us”, continued the Pope, so that we can “share in His saving work”. Christ is risen: “This is the message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete gestures of charity”, he added.

Challenging our conventions

For Pope Francis, the key to celebrating Easter is to recognize how God constantly gate-crashes our lives, “challenging our conventions, those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us”. God is inviting you and me, concluded the Pope, “to break out of our routines and to renew our lives”. The invitation is personal and powerful: “Do we want to share in this message of Life, or do we prefer to continue standing speechless before events as they happen?”


Patrick Buchanan: Did the Pope Commit Rank Heresy?

CNS News Fri, Mar 30 7:11 AM EDT


Maybe this is an April Fools' joke?

7:30am, 8:00am, 8:30am, 
9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am,
10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 
12Noon & Spanish Mass at 2pm

To accommodate the large number 
of visitors on Easter Sunday, 
Masses are held in the Church, 
the Parish Hall & the Education Building. 
When you arrive on property, 
you will be directed to the next available Mass.


This damage control from Vatican News is all well and good, but shouldn't a Cardinal, someone like Cardinal O'Malley, a credible corrector of Pope Francis, which motivated Pope Francis to clarify a very serious gaffe in Chile, pressure Pope Francis to do the same on hell?



The Easter Triduum: contemplating Death and Resurrection, Hell and Heaven

The three holiest days in the Church’s liturgical calendar offer an opportunity to reflect on what used to be called “The Four Last Things”: death, judgement, hell and heaven.
By Seàn-Patrick Lovett
It was at a morning Mass in Santa Marta, back in November 2016, that Pope Francis mentioned how the world “does not like to think” about the Four Last Things. The reason, he suggested, is that death, judgement, hell and heaven, are just too scary to contemplate. The truth, he continued, is that if you choose to live your whole life far away from the Lord, you run the risk of “continuing to live far away from Him for all eternity”.

Visions of Hell

Pope Francis has made his personal vision of Hell quite clear on several occasions. During another homily in the Vatican in 2016, he said Hell is not “a torture chamber”. Rather, it is the horror of being separated forever from the “God who loves us so much”. His predecessor, Pope St John Paul II, said something similar in 1999: not so much a physical place, he explained, “Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

It was Pope Benedict XVI, in 2007, who said that Hell “really exists and is eternal…even if nobody talks about it much anymore”. When he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, he was responsible for much of the work involved in updating the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The same Catechism not only affirms the existence of Hell and its eternity, but confirms that “the chief punishment of Hell is eternal separation from God”. 

Death and Judgement

“No one sends you to Hell”, said Pope Francis when he met with a group of children during avisit to a Rome parish in 2015: “You go there because you choose to be there”. That’s how we know the Devil is in Hell, he continued, “because the Devil wanted to be there”. At an Angelus Address in August 2016, the Pope stressed how, at the end of this life, "we will all be judged". But, he continued, "the Lord offers us many opportunities to save ourselves” and, until the end, “He never tires of forgiving us and waiting for us”.

Salvation and Heaven

During the same Angelus Address, Pope Francis confirmed how the most serious and important goal of our human existence is that of achieving “eternal salvation”. "If we are faithful to the Lord”, he said at another Mass in Santa Marta in 2016, we have nothing to worry about. On the day of Judgment "we will look at the Lord" and say: "I have many sins, but I have tried to be faithful". And all will be well: “Because the Lord is good”.


Jesus descended into hell on the first Holy Saturday.
Pope Francis has yet to clarify what his 93 year old friend reports he said about hell and damnation.

Let's be clear, even if what Pope Francis' 93 year old friend said is true, Pope Francis does not deny that some people do not go to heaven, he simply says those who are damned cease to exist. This is speculative theology of the 1970's. It simply describes hell in a devastatingly more compassionate way.

But it also makes clear the Creator's all powerful reality, He can cause what we thought to be immortal, mortal and then make the soul disappear has though never created!

One might ask, if a person ceases to exist, do the saints in heaven have any memory of these people cleansed from their minds making the damned person's non existence in the mind of the saints as though they never had been born, an eternal nothingness?

I say this because there are people who actually love their damned relatives and friends, so if a person in heaven has a loving memory of someone in hell, wouldn't that detract from their eternal happiness leading to a kind of eternal grief?

Thus damnation as a sort of erasing the actual existence of a person takes care of good memories of that person. They become in the minds of the saved as though they never existed.

Here is the Associated Press ongoing coverage of Pope Francis and the controversy His Holiness continues to generate.

I wonder, though, are conservatives the only ones concerned? Are liberals good with this and the implications of the pope's words if he actually said this?

Pope Francis presides over Good Friday services amid security and controversy

Pope Francis lies down in prayer during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican.


Pope Francis presided over solemn Good Friday services amid heightened security at Rome's Colosseum for the Via Crucis procession and a new communications controversy at home over the existence of hell.

Wearing his white coat to guard against the nighttime chill, Francis listened intently along with some 20,000 faithful as the meditations re-enacting Christ’s crucifixion were read out in the torch-lit Colosseum. At the end, he delivered a meditation of his own, denouncing those who seek power, money and conflict and praying the Catholic Church will always be an “arc of salvation, a source of certainty and truth.”

This year, the prayers were composed by students in keeping with Francis’ dedication of 2018 to addressing the hopes and concerns of young Catholics.
Italian police, carabinieri and soldiers were on alert, with Holy Week coinciding with a spate of arrests of suspected Islamic extremists around Italy and warnings from law enforcement about the return of foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria.

The Good Friday procession, the seminal event in Christianity leading to Christ’s resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday, also coincided with a new communications controversy in the Vatican over the pope’s reported assertion that hell doesn’t exist.

The Vatican hasn’t denied Francis’ comments to the La Repubblica newspaper at the height of Holy Week, saying only that Francis’ quotes can’t be considered a “faithful transcript” of what he said since the journalist reconstructed a conversation.

It was the fifth time in five years that Francis has spoken to Repubblica’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old devout atheist who admits he doesn’t record or take notes during interviews.

Nearly every time a Francis interview has appeared on Repubblica’s front page, the Vatican press office has insisted the pope’s words weren’t necessarily accurate, without denying them outright or explaining what he meant. That has prompted questions about why the pope continues to speak to Scalfari and allow himself to be quoted.

Spokesman Greg Burke didn’t respond Friday when asked whether the pope believes in the existence of hell or not. Francis has in the past spoke frequently about the devil and hell, in keeping with Catholic teaching.

The doubts, however, have enraged Catholic conservatives, who have lost their patience with a pope who seems to care less about doctrine than dialogue, especially with atheists and people of other faiths.

Leading Francis critic Antonio Socci said the pope’s words “in one fell swoop wiped away all the dogma of immortality of the soul and hell. As if the church has been tricking us for 2,000 years and Christ had lied by instilling in us the fear of hell.”

Friday, March 30, 2018


The Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord:

The Way of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum: 


JOHN 18:37-38: Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
Pope Francis had an interesting homily about truth at the Chrism Mass on which John Allen from Crux reports:

Pope blasts turning truth into an idol, wielding it to judge and classify

On Thursday, in his annual message to priests around the world during the traditional Chrism Mass, Francis came as close to spelling out what that conversion means as he has in some time - in essence, he suggested, (conversion) implies a shift from seeing “the truth” as something abstract and rigid, to understanding it as something always enfleshed in real, specific, and endlessly complex individual people.

“We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths,”

Although the pope did not spell out any specific doctrinal or disciplinary consequences, it was hard not to hear indirect echoes of some of the battles that have been waged during his papacy on Thursday, including tensions over his decision to open a cautious pathway to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.

Then Sandro Magister wrote this about Lettergate:

But getting back to Benedict XVI’s letter of February 7, it is helpful to examine more closely his reference to Peter Hünermann.
He recalls that he “participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the ‘Kölner Erklärung,’ which, in relation to the encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor,’ attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology.”
In effect, the “Cologne Declaration” was a frontal attack launched in 1989 by numerous theologians, mostly German, against the teaching of John Paul II and his prefect of doctrine Joseph Ratzinger, above all on the subject of moral theology.
The protest was detonated by the appointment as archbishop of Cologne of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the same one who in 2016 was among the signers of the “dubia” submitted to Pope Francis concerning “Amoris Laetitia” and about whom in 2017, on the day of his burial, Benedict XVI wrote profound and touching words.
The signers of the “Cologne Declaration” included the Who’s Who of theological progressivism, from Hans Küng to Bernhard Häring, from Edward Schillebeeckx to Johann Baptist Metz. And there were two of the authors of the present-day eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis: Hünermann and Werbick.
The ideas of the “Cologne Declaration” met with a reaction from Pope John Paul II in 1993, with the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor.”
Which, however, is never cited by Francis in “Amoris Laetitia.” While vice-versa “Amoris Laetitia,” in paragraphs 303-305, takes up and makes its own some of the ideas of the “Cologne Declaration,” especially where, in its third and last points, it assigns judgment in moral decisions to conscience and to the responsibility of individuals.
In that same third point, the “Cologne Declaration” makes a frontal attack on the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” of Paul VI and asserts the permissibility of contraceptives. And on this point as well, Bergoglio’s pontificate is moving in the same direction.
On the contrary, in what may be the most expansive and meditated text published so far by Benedict XVI after his resignation from the papacy, in a multi-author book on John Paul II published in 2014, the pope emeritus does not hesitate to identify precisely “Veritatis Splendor” as the encyclical of that pontificate most crucial for the present time. “To study and assimilate this encyclical,” he concludes, “remains a great and important duty.”
It is no coincidence that three of the five “dubia” submitted to Francis by several cardinals in 2016 concern precisely the risk of abandoning the foundations of moral doctrine reiterated by “Veritatis Splendor.”
Nor is it a coincidence that Ratzinger recalled, in his letter to Viganò, none other than the opposition to the principles of “Veritatis Splendor” on the part of the theologians of the “Cologne Declaration,” who have now been brought resoundingly back into favor by Francis.


Is there a hidden message in this photo?

Pope Francis Pope Francis 

Statement of the Vatican Press Office on Pope's remarks to Scalfari

The Press Office of the Holy See has released a statement on Thursday concerning remarks attributed to Pope Francis in an article in Italian newspaper "La Repubblica." 
Statement of the Press Office
The Holy Father recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without, however, granting him an interview. What is reported by the author in today’s article is the fruit of his reconstruction, in which the precise words uttered by the Pope are not cited. No quotations in the aforementioned article, then, should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.

Thursday, March 29, 2018



From Crux! Is this more shifting the blame??????

Vatican says interview in which Pope doubts Hell not a ‘faithful transcript’

Vatican says interview in which Pope doubts Hell not a ‘faithful transcript’
Images of Pope Francis and legendary 93-year-old Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari. (Credit: Stock image.)
ROME - In his latest wide-ranging conversation with legendary 93-year-old Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, founder of the left-wing daily La Repubblica and a self-professed non-believer, Pope Francis is quoted describing creation in terms of energy, expressing pride at being called a “revolutionary,” and casting doubt on the existence of Hell.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke on Thursday issued a now-customary distancing statement, describing the conversation as a “private meeting, without releasing any interview,” and Scalfari’s front-page article on Thursday quoting Francis at length as “the fruit of his own reconstruction,” in which the pope’s words “are not cited textually,” and warning that it “should not be considered as a faithful transcript of the Holy Father’s words.”
This is the fifth time Francis has sat down with Scalfari since the pontiff’s election in 2013, and on those previous occasions, the Vatican has said something similar after Scalfari published a major account of their conversation.
On the existence of Hell, Scalfari described himself asking Francis what happens to the souls of sinners, and specifically, where they are punished. He then quoted the pope as follows:
“They’re not punished. Those who repent obtain forgiveness and enter the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who don’t repent and can’t be forgiven disappear. A Hell doesn’t exist, what exists is the disappearance of sinning souls.”
For the record, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official compendium of Catholic teaching, upholds the existence of Hell:
“The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of Hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of Hell, ‘eternal fire’.”
Francis himself has spoken of Hell as a real option for one’s eternal destiny on multiple occasions, including a 2017 to the famed Marian shrine of Fatima.
“Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures,” Francis said then. “Such a life - frequently proposed and imposed - risks leading to Hell.”
At another point, Scalfari says he asked Francis if the real moment of creation wasn’t that depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but when Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise, thus setting the stage for life in a fallen world.
According to Scalfari, that prompted the pope to reflect on God and energy.
“The creator, that is, the God in the high Heavens, created the whole universe, and above all energy, which is the instrument with which our Lord created the earth, the mountains, the seas, the stars, the galaxy and living nature, even the particles and atoms of the different species that divine nature has brought to life,” Francis is quoted as saying.
“Energy made the universe explode, and from time to time it’s modified,” he said. “New species substitute for those that disappear, and it’s the creator God that regulates this alteration.”
Scalfari also says that Francis talked about the importance of religion, while conceding that “one can have a religious sense without practicing it.”
In terms of where religious faith and practice is strongest today, Scalfari writes, Francis mentioned “the peoples of South America, the plains of North America, Oceania, and a band of Africa stretching from East to West.”
Also on Africa, the pontiff said it’s an “agitated and tormented continent,” where the “masses of slaves with their burden of suffering” today originate, and it needs “much help.”
Turning to Europe, Scalfari recounts Francis saying “Europe is a continent which, for centuries, has fought wars, revolutions, rivalries and hatred, even in the Church,” but at the same time, it’s where “religiosity reached its maximum heights.”
“That’s why I took the name of ‘Francis,’” he said. “He’s one of the great examples of the Church, which needs to be understood and imitated.”
Finally, Scalfari wrote that he reminded Francis that when he writes of the pontiff, Scalfari often refers to him as a “revolutionary.”
“I know, and it’s a word that honors me in the sense in which you say it,” Scalfari quotes the pope as replying.
According to his reconstruction, Francis then wished Scalfari a happy birthday - he turns 94 on April 6 - and walked him to the door of his Santa Marta residence on Vatican grounds, hugging him as two Swiss Guards stood at attention and then waited to wave goodbye as his car departed.


What happens when Pope Francis pushes "the limits of his office"?

"So a lot of the drama of the Francis pontificate… bishops and theologians arguing with each other, cardinals challenging the pope and so on, reflects what happens, this fascinating thing, when a pope sets out to push the limits of his office," [Russ] Douthat [of the New York Times] said.

In his book, Douthat, a Catholic himself, compares Rome under Pope Francis to that of Washington, D.C., under President Trump: "a paranoid jumpy place, full of ferment and uncertainty." 

"I want to be clear. I'm not drawing any kind of moral comparison between the Holy Father and President Trump. The comparison is more of their role within their respective institutions. Both of them have entered institutions, the U.S. government and the church of Rome, that have major credibility problems that are sort of creaking and straining under the pressures of modernity," Douthat said.

As Pope Francis returns us to the speculative theology of the 1970's, I remember a discussion we had in one of our seminary classes in the late 70's about hell. Certainly God wouldn't condemn anyone to be as though they are on fire for an eternity.

Thus, the only loving, logical solution is that those who die in unrepentant mortal sin and do so with full consent of the will (which only God can judge at their personal judgement) cease to exist--they are dead for an eternity.

But what about the soul and its immortality????????????? Is there a heresy in this sentimental speculation called theology? Is this just another case of  how the theology of limbo came about?

And thus we have this to be purported to have been said by His Holiness, Pope Francis I:

[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?
[Francis:] "They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls."

To avoid any hint of neo-Gnosticism, which it appears is present in this opinion offered by Pope Francis, we need to turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I copy from the Vatican website. It clearly teaches that the soul is "immortal" and certainly this implies that it cannot cease to exist:

 1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.596

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"614

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."615 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."616
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."617

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;618 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":619
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.620