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Archbishop Nienstedt upholds Church teaching in firing of Jamie Moore

by Lisa Graas on September 29, 2014

Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt.

Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt.

I notice that an article at the Star-Tribune on the firing of Jamie Moore by Archbishop Nienstedt does not explain the Church teaching upon which his firing was based. Further, it includes a claim that the firing means that the Church is not “welcoming.” It says this even though it is also made clear that Moore is still a member of the Church.

The bottom line is that the position of music director is a position of authority in the parish. Not everyone is allowed to hold positions of authority in parishes. Certainly no one who is openly living in grave sin cannot have a position of authority. Homosexual acts are grave sin.

The Church’s mission is not only to be “welcoming” but also to call sinners to repentance. We all sin. We don’t all commit grave sin, let alone demand that our sin (even grave sin) be seen as a good thing. No, sin is a bad thing, not a good thing, and God welcomes us to repentance so that we might be saved.

To say that we don’t need to be saved by God is to mock God. Those who mock God by claiming no need for repentance from sin should not be in positions of authority in parishes. Archbishop Nienstedt is doing what the parish priest would not do and which the parish priest still does not agree with, unfortunately. If you are going to Mass for entertainment and not for offering yourself in union with God as a sacrifice, putting to death the sinful ways of the flesh, then you are not welcoming God into your heart. Rather, you are mocking Him.

It seems clear that this is why someone reported Jamie Moore to Archbishop Nienstedt, and he had to step in and use his crook to remedy the situation. I’m sure there are a lot of grateful people at the parish who are also likely horrified that they must live in obedience to a priest who turns a blind eye to our need for repentance from sin and God’s grace to restore our souls.

If nothing need be restored, you don’t need God in the first place. If you believe yourself to be a sinner (someone who has done bad things) then the thing to do is to repent from those things and stop doing them. Don’t glory in them in front of those of us who are trying to become better people through repentance from our sins. You are not an inspiration if you glory in sin in the Church instead of giving glory to God for welcoming you into his arms like the prodigal son who, by the way, repented.

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Gay Identity: A wolf in sheep’s clothing

by Lisa Graas on September 29, 2014


Many thanks to those readers who write to me privately and tell me to keep talking about “gay identity,” which the Catholic catechism wisely instructs us to reject. It is too bad that more people are not talking about it. It is today’s wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It occurs to me that wolves in sheep’s clothing may be found in any number of things, but this is the most insidious one of all today.

Definition of “insidious”

1. intended to entrap or beguile:
an insidious plan.
2. stealthily treacherous or deceitful:
an insidious enemy.
3. operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect:
an insidious disease.

As I have explained many times, the cross of same-sex attraction is similar to my cross of bipolar disorder in that your brain is telling you things that are not actually true. Naturally, your brain will not tell you that you are attracted to someone of the same sex. Also naturally, your brain will not tell you to kill yourself. It is natural to be sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex. It is also natural to want to continue to live. When your brain is telling you otherwise, it’s important to hang on to the objective reality about ourselves that is revealed to us ultimately by God. In His will, we find our true identity and we are able to resist the temptations that would prompt us to do the evils of homosexual acts or suicide. It is precisely because I want people to say “no” to suicide that I find “gay identity” to be insidious. It is spoken of as harmless, even by otherwise faithful Catholics, even though it is a lie that has implications for people with bipolar disorder. It is Satan’s lie.

When we pronounce that “gay identity” is harmless, we are saying that Satan is harmless. You see, same-sex attraction, like suicidal ideation in bipolar disorder, is a temptation. It is the voice of Satan. When we insist that our identity is in our temptation, we are saying that we are who Satan says we are, not who God says we are. Far from being harmless, “gay identity” is the very doorway into the soul that Satan uses to steal souls away.

I have never seen faithful Catholics defending Satan so much as I have seen it in their defense of “gay” as an identity. Even those who object to “gay identity” (examples: Michael Voris and Creative Minority Report) will use the term “gay persons” or say “it’s okay to be gay as long as you don’t commit the acts.” They don’t seem to realize the obvious, that it is not “okay to be gay” because that is what Satan wants people to believe they are. No one is “gay.” Our identity is in God’s will for us, not Satan’s will for us. That is the whole point.

This is why “gay identity” is insidious, because otherwise faithful people see it as a harmless sheep or they will recognize it as as the wolf but will not reject its use. Those who spend extensive amounts of energy defending “gay identity” as “harmless” are the wolves in sheep’s clothing in the Church who want us to believe that “gay is okay.” Temptations are not okay. They are Satan’s voice and should be acknowledged as such.

I wish that I had a nickel for every time someone told me that I should let Satan have his say over “who” people are because letting Satan have his say over who they are is harmless. I could pay my blog hosting fee with all those claims. But I won’t let Satan have his say. No one is “gay.” Our DNA tells us whether we are male or female. In this, we can know what God expects of us just as I know that because God does not intend for me to desire to kill myself. No one who does not know what God expects of him or her is going to be able to become what God has created him or her to be. No one who IDs as “gay” is listening to God. All of them are listening to the voice of Satan, not the voice of God, and we need to be very clear that this is not harmless. It’s dangerous.

You are not intended to be a wolf with a sheep’s covering. You are intended to be a sheep. Be one.


Memorial of St Vincent De Paul

by Lisa Graas on September 27, 2014


One beautiful diamond is worth more than a mountain of stones, and one virtuous act of acquiescence and submission is better than an abundance of good works done for others. – St. Vincent de Paul

Today is the Memorial of St. Vincent De Paul, founder of the Sisters of Charity and patron of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Read his bio at Patron Saints Index.

Today’s Readings: Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest.

Browse quotes from St. Vincent de Paul. Here are some of my favorites:

  • It is a ruse of the devil, by which he deceives good people, to induce them to do more than they are able, so that they end up not being able to do anything. The spirit of God urges one gently to do the good that can be done reasonably, so that it may be done perseveringly and for a long time.
  • I feel so strongly about the truths Our Lord taught us by word and example that I cannot help but see how everything done according to that teaching always succeeds perfectly well, while things done the opposite way have a quite different result.
  • One beautiful diamond is worth more than a mountain of stones, and one virtuous act of acquiescence and submission is better than an abundance of good works done for others.
  • There is no act of charity that is not accompanied by justice or that permits us to do more than we reasonably can.
  • Charity is the cement which binds Communities to God and persons to one another . . .
  • [A] truly humble spirit humbles itself as much amid honors as amid insults, acting like the honeybee which makes its honey equally as well from the dew that falls on the wormwood as from that which falls on the rose.

Here is a video about St. Vincent de Paul which was put together by Catholic Community Television Network. It is very well done.

Please consider sending a donation to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Cardinal Nichols’ troubling remarks on marriage

by Lisa Graas on September 24, 2014


This is very difficult for me to write, as a divorced and celibate mother of four, because it is so painful to see a cardinal, who is also an archbishop, of the Catholic Church say such things as he is quoted in the Telegraph as saying…things that are hurtful to both me and to my children, as I will explain.


Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric has warned that the Church has effectively forgotten how to forgive and must face up to the fact that people’s private lives do not always live up to an its “idealised vision” of family life.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said compassion for the difficulties people face in their personal lives had not been the Church’s “strongest suit” in recent years.

He said it must create a “culture of mercy” as it approaches issues such as whether remarried divorcees should receive Holy Communion.

Stop right there, because I can’t read anymore beyond that. It is heartbreaking.

It is not “mercy” for me to leave my children at home while I go out and find a “new husband,” particularly given that I am already married, therefore why should I be shown mercy if I would not show mercy to my own children by remaining true to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony? Yes, the state says that I am divorced, but that is only a civil procedure to protect my civil rights. It is something that I did only at the urging of the Church (three times) while it was clear, and remains clear, that I am still sacramentally married despite what the state says.

Believe me when I say that I have discussed this repeatedly with my children, who were quite young when I divorced but are teens and young adults now. They understand what I have longed for them to understand in bearing this cross, that marriage is lifelong and can sometimes require great sacrifice, which means that they are less likely to walk down the aisle without absolute certainty that they are fully committed to that person for life. They, like me, are pained by the idea that a cardinal would suggest that it is somehow “better” for people if we treat Holy Matrimony as if it is disposable. In doing that, we are saying that the Cross is futility, as we can find no joy in it. You see, marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the Church. If we are unwilling to bear the Cross with Him, then He will spit us out due to our lukewarmness. If we remain true to His will for us, especially when it requires great suffering, He will pour out His graces upon us and make us able to bear that cross with ease. There is no cross that is too much for us to bear because He is in them all, pouring out His grace.

My heart is breaking. This is so hard to write. So hard. Why? Because cardinals should know what the saints knew. Cardinals should know what a poor, uneducated mother knows who bears this cross with the joy that comes from uniting it with that of Jesus Christ.

I just don’t know what to say other than, please, intellectual Catholics who have half a clue about what it means to be Catholic, and who have big media outlets that bring in lots of money…why aren’t you speaking for people like me? Why? Why do you persist in promoting the public images of those who reject the Cross of Jesus Christ as “too difficult to carry?” The idea that our Lord does not want us to have a share in His Cross is hurtful to me who has found Him in my cross. It is hurtful because you are robbing people of the great joy that I have come to know, along with all other Catholics who bear crosses and have come to know that our Lord is there in that suffering with them.

As a Passionist, I hold to the words of St. Gemma in my time of need, who was so close to our Lord in His Cross, and also to the words of our Lord to St. Gemma.

Our Lord said to St.Gemma:

“Make haste in the ways of divine love, humble thyself, and rest assured that if I keep you on the Cross, that I love you. Be not like some who, being attached to consolations and spiritual satisfactions, care but little for the Cross. Then, finding themselves in desolation of spirit, they shorten by degrees the time of prayer because they no longer find in it the consolations they had before experienced.”

Do you not love our Lord? Then do not leave Him on His Cross alone.


Uphold traditional marriage: one mother’s plea

by Lisa Graas on September 23, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

At Public Discourse, a must-read article written by a mother whose life has been devastated by same-sex marriage:

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

Please read the whole thing.

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Cardinal Dolan vs the Saints, the Catechism and the Papal Theologian on ‘Gay’ Identity

by Lisa Graas on September 19, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

In order to become a saint in the Catholic Church, we are called to “die to self” wherein we empty ourselves of all that is not of God’s will so that we can become what He made us to be. No one is exempt from putting God’s will above his/her own will. This “dying to self” theology is central to Catholic teaching on the Cross of Christ, that we must unite ourselves with Him in it. It is what causes Catholics to give up their “self”-ish wants and desires and go and serve the poor and the otherwise marginalized. They “die to self” and go do God’s will. But now, Cardinal Dolan is preaching the opposite of this message in saying that one does not have to “die to self” anymore. He does this through promotion of the “gay identity” which is specifically contradicted by every saint who has ever written on homosexuality, not to mention the catechism and the papal theologian.

Cardinal Dolan writes in regard to his decision to be Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which will include groups who identify as “gay”:

Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.


So, while actions are immoral, identity is not!

That is false. First, let’s look at the catechism, which no Catholic may knowingly preach against, most especially our bishops.

CCC 2333: Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which all Catholics are bound also, in discipline, not to preach against:

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.

Rev. Wojciech Giertych is the papal theologian. As such, his job is to “review the texts given to the Pope for his speeches for theological accuracy.” This is what he says about “gay” identity in an interview with LifeSiteNews:

“…in the American language you have a distinction between the word ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’. A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. Somebody may have this difficulty, and his friends, his neighbors will not know about this. He’s dealing with this in cooperation with the grace of God and may come out of this difficulty and come back to normal human relationships. Sometimes adolescents, at the moment when their sexual sensibility is appearing, if they have been distorted by others they go through a phase of difficulty in this field. But as they mature they will grow out of it. Whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this.’ Now if somebody is not only homosexual, but a gay, declaring, ‘This is how I am, and I want this to be respected legally, socially and so on’ – such a person will never come out of the difficulty.”

Here are some quotes from the saints on dying to self:

Love consumes us only in the measure of our self-surrender. — St. Therese of Lisieux

Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God. — St. Vincent Ferrer

God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God. — Blessed Robert Southwell

We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self. — St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

I bind myself today
The might of the Incarnation of Christ with that of His Baptism,
The might of His Crucifixion with that of His Burial,
The might of His Resurrection with that of His Ascension,
The might of His Coming on the Judgment Day. — St. Patrick of Ireland

Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love. — St. Paul of the Cross

In uniting yourself to God’s will, you take on new life and gather great courage, willingly embracing the cross and kissing His hand even when it chastises you, a hand that reaches out to you in love and has no other intention but your greater spiritual well-being. — St. Paul of the Cross

He who desires anything but God deceives himself, and he who loves anything but God errs miserably. — St. Philip Neri

Give me ten truly detached men. and I will convert the world with them. — St. Philip Neri

Another weapon the devil employs is immodesty, or more frankly, impurity. My dear children, be on your guard. The devil will tempt you with bad books, bad thoughts, or the foul conversation of a companion. When any such fellow approaches you, say to yourself, This is a minister of Satan. And let these wretches who indulge in foul conversation say to himself, I am a minister of Satan because I help him ruin souls! — St. John Bosco

“Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live, therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one’s own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert” — St. Catharine of Bologna, On the Seven Spiritual Weapons

This is by no means an exhaustive collection of quotes from the saints on denial of self. To the contrary, it is what all saints have done. All of them. It is at the core of what it means to be Catholic. To tell people that they can embrace a self-centered identity on a matter of grave sin, which homosexual acts are, and that they are not doing something immoral in doing so is to deny everything the saints have taught us.

It should be said, too, that denial of homosexual identity is something that we can find agreement with many protestants on who otherwise do not accept the Catholic view of sainthood. Cardinal Dolan has contradicted all that we know about what it takes to become a saint, and he has done so on an issue that we could unite on with those protestants who disagree with us on sainthood.

Even beyond this, at the personal level, I have stated repeatedly (ad nauseum) on this blog that because I have Bipolar Disorder, identity in disorder is dangerous for me physically. Satan is much more intelligent than any human being, so you can imagine how he toys with a faithful Catholic who has Bipolar Disorder which brings with it sometimes delusional thinking. It is only in immersing myself in objective reality, particularly on my identity in Christ, as taught by the Catholic Church that I am able to outwit Satan when I have suicidal ideation from time to time. In short, Catholic teaching on our identity in God’s will, and in Christ, is what keeps me from killing myself.

Yesterday, I was taken aback by the remarks that I had just read from Cardinal Dolan. It triggered me. (See Daily Triggers for Bipolar Disorder.) It was important that I seek out reassurance from people I know to be faithful Catholics. The first place I could think of was Catholic Answers. I found the particular conversation dealing with Cardinal Dolan’s statement and left the following comment, whereupon I was blocked from the forum on the grounds of “Contempt for Clergy.”

I cannot begin to express how painful it is for me to see Cardinal Dolan contradict CCC 2333. It further pains me that this is characterized as charity. We do not blow our brains out for charity because that would be the opposite of charity. God has rights. I’ve tweeted my comments to Cardinal Dolan and will post them below. I don’t expect anyone here to care, but it’s important to me in my spiritual life and is consistent with what the Church teaches. For me, it is life or death….physically speaking.

I said to Cardinal Dolan:

I have bipolar disorder. If people like me in spiritual direction are allowed to find ID in disorder, they’ll commit suicide.
I don’t criticize for jollies. I criticize because people will commit suicide if they find their identity in disorder.
And because objective disorder is different from medical disorder, it is spiritual suicide to ID in it.
The papal theologian has said that once you ID in it, it is less likely that you can come to understand the truth. I agree.
I will continue to defend CCC 2333 because lives are at stake, both physically and spiritually.
And every time you deny CCC 2333, you are essentially saying that my specific cross in life is futile and a lie.
If I were to ever believe you my life would be in danger. Thats why I cling to root basis of CCC 2333. Objective identity.
My identity isn’t whatever I come up with in my head. My identity is what God says I am. Therefore, I do not take my life.

Is that “contempt for clergy” or the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls? Since I wrote it, I know that it is the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls.

This is not the first time people I trusted theologically in the Catholic Church have done this to me, and I know that it will not be the last. But, you see, my job as a Catholic is to “die to self.” I cannot let this be a hook in me that impedes me on my way up the ladder to heaven. I can, however, warn others out there who have the same cross that I bear that you should not be discouraged. You should not let your faith be shaken. You should not let Cardinal Dolan and others convince you that the Church has stopped preaching that your dignity is in God’s will. You should not equate your disorder with yourself, as Cardinal Dolan does. You must continue to believe that all human beings suffer with either objective disorder (like same-sex attraction) or medical disorders (like Bipolar Disorder) and that all of our disorders are wiped away when we die, as there is no disorder in heaven. You will be perfect in heaven. Further, as the saints tell us, it is far better to suffer on this earth than to suffer in purgatory, which is where we are perfected before we enter into heaven. So, take heart. Do not let anyone make you believe that your identity is in delusion, or suicidal ideation, or anything else that is as the result of the Fall. Your identity is in what God desires for you, in what He has created you to be, to live with Him as such in heaven. It is not in anything else.

Bishops may say you don’t need to be fixed. (This is not “contempt for clergy.” It is pain for suffering souls.) Bishops may say that you are not broken. But God does not ignore your pain and pretend it doesn’t exist, and He does not equate your disorder with your identity. He knows your pain, and He WILL fix  you, provided that you unite that pain with our Lord’s in His Cross.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.



On Cardinal Burke’s Exile

by Lisa Graas on September 18, 2014

Cardinal Burke, probably the greatest champion at the Vatican of those of us who love and defend Catholic teaching, has been exiled by Pope Francis. The Anchoress opines here. Father Z opines here. We can try to pretend that he’s not being exiled, but…it is what it is.

Exile – expulsion from one’s native land by authoritative decree.

The Vatican is his native land, as he is a cardinal, and he was expelled by authoritative decree, having his authoritative role diminished. He was exiled.

The question is, why was he exiled? It seems natural to assume that this very public act was because of the most recent public thing that he did, and that was to say in regard to Pope Francis’ “who am I to judge” remarks that “We have to judge acts.”


Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court – the Apostolic Signatura – has given a lengthy televised interview in which he decisively rectifies the false notions about Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” quote that has been used frequently to suggest a change in Church teaching on the matter of homosexuality.

Host Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action Insight questioned Cardinal Burke about instances where people must make judgments in light of Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” phrase.

“We have to judge acts, we have to,” Cardinal Burke replied. “All day long we make judgments with regards to certain acts; this is what the natural law is: to choose good and to avoid evil.”

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and this article yesterday at the Washington Post by a former Jesuit seminarian saying that Jesuits accept openly homosexual candidates for the priesthood isn’t exactly helpful in dispelling notions that Jesuits do not uphold Church teaching on this very grave matter.


But I was open and transparent about my sexual orientation from the beginning. Before I committed, I talked to my vocation director. He was a gay Jesuit; he assured me I’d be welcomed into the Society of Jesus, that I wouldn’t have to go back into the closet. I met other gay Jesuits who told me the same.

So, what is official Church teaching? When Pope Benedict [then Cardinal Ratzinger] was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Saint John Paul the Great, he issued what continues to be the primary guide for the pastoral care of homosexual persons in the Church. The laity are most certainly bound to obey it as a matter of discipline, but we are also bound to obey our bishops (like Cardinal Dolan) and, of course, the Pope….all as a matter of discipline. In it, Benedict (then-Ratzinger) referred to some in the Church who consider same-sex attraction to be “neutral” or even “good,” and he corrected them.

In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Though we are all bound to hold to then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s guide (and our bishops, and Pope Francis, as a matter of discipline), and though it is completely in tune with Catholic understanding of human nature and salvation, the current Magisterium seems to be in some kind of “debate” mode on this subject.  Pope Francis, with his “who am I to judge” remark appears to be in the “neutral” camp while Cardinal Dolan, with his “bravo” comment, appears to be in the “good” camp. Pope Francis’ remark “who am I to judge” could not be strictly held to by the laity considering that it was so vague, whereas Cardinal Dolan’s “bravo” remark is not vague at all and completely contradicts Benedict’s letter. The rest of us are bound to adhere to the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons direction and to the very consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on this for two millennia, which is what Cardinal Burke was doing in his remarks on judging acts.

At this point, Pope Francis’s view seems no longer vague. Just after Cardinal Burke publicly championed Benedict’s rule and the constant teaching of the Church on human nature and objective disorder, Pope Francis exiled him. Cardinal Burke sent a very public message in his capacity as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and he was subsequently expelled and sent to Malta.

My question is this. Given that it seems clear now that Pope Francis is “neutral” on the matter and expels those who do not hold to the “neutral” line, can we expect him also to discipline Cardinal Dolan for his “bravo” position?

I am not holding my breath for an answer.

To those of you who wonder whether we are to obey Pope Francis or the letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons or, in the case of New Yorkers, Cardinal Dolan, I can only say that the Church is currently not very clear on this based on the messaging of Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke, and Cardinal Dolan. When such things happen, we have to look at the clear teachings of the Church for two millennia to determine what the truth is. My conscience is clear on this, and it is consistent with Benedict’s letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, therefore that is what I will be defending. Having said that, if you see people defending neutrality or “bravo,” you can’t really blame them as they are following the Pope and Cardinal Dolan. It seems clear that given the grave matter involved here, the laity will have a tough row to hoe in defending that which had been so very clear in the Church’s teaching before Pope Francis was elected, which they still have every right (and I would argue duty) to defend.

Am I saying that Pope Francis is not a faithful Catholic? No. I’m saying that how we approach this subject is currently debatable, though Pope Francis’ exile of Cardinal Burke should give us all great pause. How far is he willing to go to silence people who will not hold to the “neutral” line? He is not silencing Cardinal Burke in the sense of putting duct tape over his mouth, but he has certainly removed his credibility in demoting him. My heart sorrows, but I will not panic because, as I said, my conscience is clear. It is also well-informed.

The Suffering Church: Morning Headlines 9/18/2014

by Lisa Graas on September 18, 2014


In Defense Of Christians Slams Weekly Standard Editor’s ‘Bigotry’ Defending Ted Cruz. The group that hosted one of the largest ecumenical Christian gatherings to address religious persecution in years last Wednesday night, which was crashed in dramatic fashion by junior Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, is calling for an apology from The Weekly Standard for remarks made by senior editor Lee Smith on Twitter regarding the incident.

25 Towns under the Control of Boko Haram, Says Catholic Church. The Catholic church yesterday gave a list of 25 towns in three North-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, presently under the control of the outlawed terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Ukraine’s bishops: voters should support defense of nation against foreign invasion. The synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church told voters that upcoming parliamentary elections “are the most complex and important ones in the history of independent Ukraine.”

Tulsa Catholic Church To Hold ‘Holy Hour’ During OKC Black Mass. TULSA, Oklahoma – Local Catholics are planning their opposition to a Black Mass scheduled to be put on this weekend by Oklahoma devil worshipers.

Theft of 150 toys leaves Catholic Charities without gifts for holidays. The theft of about 150 toys has left Catholic Charities in Waukegan, Illinois, with zero items left to start its gift-giving program this holiday season.

As IS sympathisers drive by Catholic school and threaten children and nun I pray God takes pity on them. AUSTRALIA – Police are investigating allegations death threats were made towards a nun at Maronite College of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church at Harris Park.

Photo slideshow: U.S. Catholic bishops visit the Holy Land on peace pilgrimage. Eighteen Catholic bishops from across the U.S., together with officials from Catholic Relief Services, the bishops’ international relief agency, are leading a peace pilgrimage to the Holy Land from Sept. 11-18, 2014.

Cardinal Dolan: Ukraine ‘Flowing With Blood’. New York’s archbishop urges U.S. Catholics to respond to the pleas of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic bishops.

A plea from Christian churches around the world: Stop the genocide in Iraq and Syria. Christian leaders throughout the Middle East have called on Muslim governments and religious authorities to condemn the Islamic State for its ongoing persecution of minority religious communities in Iraq and Syria.

UN panel raps Iran over imprisonment of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini. A United Nations panel this week blasted Iran’s continued imprisonment of American citizen Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term in the Islamic republic for practicing his faith.

Mideast Christian Leaders Want Arabs to Be At the Front Against the Islamic State. GENEVA — Middle East church leaders have urged Arab governments and Muslim religious authorities to strongly denounce the Islamic State for its onslaught on minority religious communities.

ASU Responds to Christian Advocacy Group Concerning Cross Decals on football helmets. JONESBORO, AR – Arkansas State University has responded after being accused of violating students’ right to free speech.



The Suffering Church: Morning Headlines

by Lisa Graas on September 17, 2014


Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Christian Religious Leaders of the Middle East. This afternoon, President Obama dropped by National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s meeting at the White House with a delegation of Christian religious leaders from the Middle East led by Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai.

Iran’s Ayatollah Declines to Help US Coalition Fight ISIS. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put to rest on Monday any speculation that his country would be partnering in anyway with the U.S. and its allies in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Corbella: Albertans’ anti-Christian bigotry is shocking. The most shocking thing about Alberta Premier Jim Prentice’s new cabinet isn’t that he has chosen two unelected cabinet ministers, though that’s generating a lot of buzz to be sure. What’s really alarming, however, is the open, anti-Christian bigotry attacking one of those unelected ministers — Gordon Dirks — who is Alberta’s new minister of education.

Meet Milad, the nurse who connects displaced Iraqis with crucial drugs. ARBIL (AFP) – Milad was an operating theatre nurse in Qaraqosh before ISIS fighters seized Iraq’s largest Christian town. Now he compiles long lists of medicines that his fellow displaced Iraqis sorely lack.

Cal State University strips official status from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. After refusing to eliminate a requirement that leaders affirm a doctrine of faith, a Christian student organization has returned to Cal State University this fall without the financial help, recruitment opportunities and community standing other groups enjoy.

Texas Town Fights to keep Christian Plaque at Public School (Video). A Christian plaque at Mountain Peak Elementary School in Midlothian, Tx, has galvanized the small community against the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which wants the plaque removed because it sits on public property.

Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim speaks of her prison ordeal for first time. The Sudanese mother who was sentenced to hang for refusing to give up her Christian faith has spoken about her ordeal for the first time, saying she never once considered giving in and that she made her stand on behalf of all those facing persecution around the world because of their religious beliefs.

Texas board debates school textbooks’ stress on Christian tradition, ‘living’ US Constitution. AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Board of Education is considering 104 proposed social studies, history, geography and government textbooks that publishers have submitted for approval and use in public schools statewide. Much of the criticism is from left-leaning academics who say too much emphasis is placed on America’s Christian tradition.

Satanic Temple Plans To Distribute Satinist-Themed Children’s Activity Book To Florida Students. The New York based Satanic Temple announced in a press release Monday that they plan to distribute “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” to Florida students.

TERROR: Boko Haram rape women, slaughter people in Michika -Residents. Residents of Michika and Bazza towns of Adamawa State have raised the alarm that contrary to the claims of military authotities, the towns have yet to be recaptured by federal troops from the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which overran the communities on penultimate Sunday.

Ambassador warns of ISIS threat for Pope Francis’ Albania visit. Iraq’s Ambassador to the Holy See is warning that Pope Francis could be targeted by ISIS militants ahead of the pontiff’s first visit to Albania this weekend.

In a first, US strikes ISIS near Baghdad. The United States has bombed militants near Baghdad in support of Iraqi forces, striking close to the capital for the first time in its expanded campaign against Islamic jihadists.

Vigil planned at Quinnipiac for persecuted Mideast Christians. HAMDEN >> Members of the clergy and others have planned a vigil and prayer service at Quinnipiac University to show support for Christians persecuted in the Middle East.

Sudanese Christian Woman Speaks Out in On Camera Interview; Wants to Help Women in Sudan [VIDEO]. Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam, spoke to Fox News in an exclusive interview in which she gave all glory to God and said her battle is not over.

IDC Leader: Ted Cruz Put ‘Lives at Risk’ at In Defense of Christians Summit. The Texas senator potentially gave extremists more reason to exterminate Middle East Christians by calling the State of Israel their greatest ally, said In Defense of Christians’ executive director.

Patriarchs ask faithful to help ‘save Christianity in the Middle East’. Five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the region. “Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian action, to save Christianity in the Middle East,” Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church says.


The Suffering Church

by Lisa Graas on September 17, 2014


Today’s Headlines:


Coptic Christian protesters clash with police in southern Egypt over abducted housewife. A couple hundred Christian protesters clashed with police in southern Egypt after holding a demonstration on Tuesday in front of a police station demanding authorities locate an abducted housewife, a security official said.

Kurds retake Christian villages from Iraq jihadists. Arbil (Iraq) (AFP) – Kurdish peshmerga forces on Tuesday recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with Islamic State (IS) jihadists, an officer and a cleric said.

Mideast Christian leaders want Arabs to be at the front against the Islamic State. GENEVA – Middle East church leaders have urged Arab governments and Muslim religious authorities to strongly denounce the Islamic State for its onslaught on minority religious communities.

NFL Forces RGIII To Turn Christian Shirt Inside Out For Press Conference. Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III, who dislocated his ankle in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, entered the room for a post-game press conference wearing a T-shirt that said “[K]No[w] Jesus, [K]No[w] Peace” but turned it inside-out before speaking to reporters.

Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim tells for first time of her ordeal. Christian mother who faced death sentence in Sudan after being accused of abandoning Islam says she was read the Koran in prison in an attempt to convert her.

Media Silent: Terrorists Kidnap Hundreds Of Christian Girls, Cut Off Their Breasts. The mainstream media has failed us again, overlooking a report that hundreds of Christian girls were abducted and tortured in the most gruesome ways.

Thousands of young Christian Iraqis have joined the fight against ISIS — but few have faith it will help. Five years ago, Sirgon Horomes had “Long live the Iraqi army” tattooed on his arm. It went with the image of Jesus tattooed on his other arm. He was 17 then and believed that Iraq’s army would protect the interests of the minority Christians. “Now, I’m disappointed,” Sirgon says. At the beginning of the summer, the army crumbled in the face of an attack by the militant group ISIS in Mosul. That left Christians, Turkmen and Yazidis vulnerable to attack and persecution by ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.

Mideast Christian leaders call Arab states ‘timid’ in confronting Islamic State. Prominent Middle East Christian leaders say that Muslim leaders have been “timid” in their response to the massacres by the Islamic State, and urged Arab leaders to do more to defeat the terror group.

‘You Can Kill My Body, But Not My Soul': Christian Refuses to Convert to Islam in Face of Death.  Christian man in Nigeria recently stood firm for his faith despite Muslim attempts to force him to convert to Islam while threatening him with death.

Christian News Anchor With Cancer ‘At Peace’ in Final Days. Not many people handle sobering news with the type of calm demeanor and peaceful spirit one TV anchor just did in announcing an inoperable relapse with cancer.

ISIS Using Christian Homes in Mosul As Factories for Explosive Devices. A number of Mosul residents have said that ISIS has turned Christians homes into factories for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and car bombs.

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes nitrogen gas for executions. An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed nitrogen gas as a possible alternative for executing condemned prisoners after a botched execution in April raised concerns about lethal injection. State Representative Mike Christian, a Republican, on Tuesday called for a state House committee to study the use of “nitrogen hypoxia” for executions, saying it would be painless for inmates and affordable for Oklahoma.

California’s ironic ousting of campus Christian groups. A disturbing story came and went, barely noticed a few weeks ago. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is being unceremoniously booted off the campuses of California’s 23 state universities. This begins with a process of “derecognizing” these as legitimate campus groups.

Second Secular Group Opposes Cross In State Park. Two different secular groups have argued that the sculpture depicting an eagle, veterans and a small white cross is a violation of the constitution.

Texas School Board Vows To Keep Christian Plaques In School. At a packed school board meeting Monday night, the Midlothian ISD school board vowed to keep two religious plaques uncovered for the foreseeable future.

Rise of ISIS: Why the Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher. The Islamic State (ISIS), the wealthiest and most lethal terrorist group in history, is making its presence known on the world stage in a gruesome way.