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Statement from Archbishop Lucas on Creighton’s decision to approve of same-sex benefits

by Lisa Graas on October 29, 2014


From the Archdiocese of Omaha:

Below is a statement from Archbishop George Lucas regarding the decision by Father Tim Lannon, SJ, president of Creighton University, to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who have attempted marriage in states where this practice is legal.

“I am disappointed in Father Lannon’s announcement that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who have attempted marriage in states where this practice is legal. I disagree with the decision. Despite Father Lannon’s claim that this is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages, this is precisely the message that the University is giving. I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice. Both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love. When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits.”

Hat-tip, LifeSiteNews.

Pope Francis: At the centre of every social or economic system there must be the person

by Lisa Graas on October 28, 2014


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Synod Hall the Holy Father met with participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements (27 to 29 October), organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and with the leaders of various movements.

The Pope spoke about the term solidarity, “a word that is not always well accepted”, that is much maligned and almost “unrepeatable”; however it is a word that indicates much more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It means thinking and acting in terms of community, of prioritising the life of all over and above the appropriation of goods by the few. It also means fighting the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, lack of land and housing, and the denial of social and labour rights. It means facing the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacement, painful migration, human trafficking, drugs, war, violence and all these situations that many of you suffer and that we are all called upon to transform. Solidarity, in its deepest sense, is a way of making history and this is what the popular movements do”.

He went on to remark that this meeting does not correspond to any form of ideology and that the movements work not with ideas, but with reality. “It is not possible to tackle poverty by promoting containment strategies to merely reassure, rendering the poor ‘domesticated’ , harmless and passive”, he continued. “This meeting corresponds to a more concrete desire, that any father or mother would want for their children: an aspiration that should be within the reach of all but which we sadly see is increasingly unavailable to the majority: land, housing and work. It is strange, but if I talk about this, there are those who think that the Pope is communist”.

“Today, the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression assumes a new dimension, a graphical and hard edge of social injustice: those that cannot be integrated, the marginalised, are discarded, “cast-offs”. This is the throwaway culture … This happens when the centre of an economic system is the god of money and not humanity, the human person. At the centre of every social or economic system there must be the person, the image of God, created as the denominator of the universe. When humanity is displaced and supplanted by money, this disruption of values occurs”.

Pope Francis mentioned the problem of unemployment, and added that “every worker, whether or not he is part of the formal system of paid work, has the right to fair remuneration, social security and a pension. ‘Cartoneros’, those who live by recycling waste, street vendors, garment makers, craftspeople, fishermen, farmers, builders, miners, workers in companies in receivership, cooperatives and common trades that are excluded from employment rights, who are denied the possibility of forming trades unions, who do not have an adequate or stable income. Today I wish to unite my voice to theirs and to accompany them in their struggle”.

He went on the mention the theme of peace and ecology. “We cannot strive for land, housing, or work if we are not able to maintain peace or if we destroy the planet. … Creation is not our property, that we may exploit as we please; far less so, the property of the few. Creation is a gift, a wonderful gift that God gave us, to care for and to use for the benefit of all, always with respect and gratitude”.

“Why, instead of this, are we accustomed to seeing decent work destroyed, the eviction of many families, the expulsion of peasants from the land, war and the abuse of nature? Because this system has removed humanity from the centre and replaced it with something else! Because of the idolatrous worship of money! Because of the globalisation of indifference – ‘what does it matter to me what happens to others, I’ll defend myself’”. Because the world has forgotten God, the Father: it has become an orphan because it has turned aside from God”.

He emphasised that “Christians have something very good, a guide to action, a revolutionary programme, we might say. I strongly recommend that you read it, that you read the Beatitudes”.

He concluded by highlighting the importance of walking together and remarking that “popular movements express the urgent need to revitalise our democracies, that are so often hijacked by many factors. It is impossible to imagine a future for society without the active participation of the majority, and this role extends beyond the logical procedures of formal democracy”.

Source: Vatican Information Service

‘What is being proposed is not marriage’ – Pope calls for defense of family

by Lisa Graas on October 28, 2014


Vatican City, Oct 26, 2014 / 12:52 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an audience with members of an international Marian movement, Pope Francis warned that the sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a mere association, and urged participants to be witnesses in a secular world.

“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.

He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.

He lamented that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”

Noting that there are many who cohabitate, or are separated or divorced, he explained that the “key” to helping is a pastoral care of “close combat” that assists and patiently accompanies the couple.

Pope Francis offered his words in a question-and-answer format during his audience with members of the Schoenstatt movement, held in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany.

Roughly 7,500 members of the international Marian and apostolic organization, both lay and clerics from dozens of nations around the world, were present in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for the audience.

In his answers to questions regarding marriage, Pope Francis explained that contemporary society has “devalued” the sacrament by turning it into a social rite, removing the most essential element, which is union with God.

“So many families are divided, so many marriages broken, (there is) such relativism in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage,” he said, noting that from a sociological and Christian point of view “there is a crisis in the family because it’s beat up from all sides and left very wounded!”

In regard to Mary, the Roman Pontiff said that her visit to her cousin Elizabeth is a strong symbol for the movement’s mission, and emphasized how no Christians can call themselves orphans because they have a mother who continues to give them life.

Pope Francis recalled this history of the movement’s foundation, noting how it was started by Fr. Joseph Kentenich during the First World War. It was after his time in a concentration camp during World War II, the Pope noted, that the priest traveled to the peripheries of the world in order to preach the Gospel.

Witness is key to spreading the Gospel, he said, explaining that true witness means living “in such a way that the will to live as we live is born in the heart of others…Living in a way (so that) others are interested and ask: ‘why?’”

However, the Bishop of Rome emphasized that although we are called to give this witness, “we are not the saviors of anyone,” but rather are the transmitters of Jesus, who is the one that already saved us all.

True witness propels us out of ourselves and into the streets of the world, the Pope continued, repeating his common declaration that a Church, movement or community that doesn’t go out of itself “becomes sick.”

“A movement, a Church or a community that doesn’t go out, is mistaken,” he said. “Don’t be afraid! Go out in mission, go out on the road. We are walkers.”

In answer to questions regarding how he can be defined as “reckless,” the Roman Pontiff admitted that although he can be considered “a little reckless,” he still surrenders himself to prayer, saying that it helps him to place Jesus at the center, rather than himself.

“There is only one center: Jesus Christ – who rather looks at things from the periphery, no? Where he sees things more clearly,” the Pope observed, saying that when closed inside the small worlds of a parish, a community and even the Roman Curia, “then you do not grasp the truth.”

He explained how reality is always seen better from the peripheries rather than the center, and noted how he has seen some episcopal conferences who charge for almost every small thing, where “nothing escapes.”

“Everything is working well, everything is well organized,” the pontiff observed, but they could do with less “functionalism and more apostolic zeal, more interior freedom, more prayer, (and) this interior freedom is the courage to go out.”

When asked about his process of reforming the Roman Curia, Pope Francis explained that often renewal is understood as making small changes here or there, or even making changes out of the necessity of adapting to the times.

But this isn’t true renewal, he said, noting that while there are people every day who say that he needs to renew the Vatican Bank or the Curia, “It’s strange (that) no one speaks of the reform of the heart.”

“They don’t understand anything of what the renewal of the heart means: which is holiness, renewing one’s (own) heart,” the Pope observed, saying that a renewed heart is able of going beyond disagreements such as family conflicts, war and those that arise out of the “culture of the provisional.”

He concluded by blessing the missionary crosses of those present, who are called to missionaries in the five continents of the world, and recalled how some time ago he was given an image of the Mother of Schoenstatt, who prays and is always present.

The movement’s encounter with Pope Francis came on the second day of their visit to Rome, which culminated with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz.

Source: Catholic News Agency, published with permission.

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Catholic Books on Marriage at Amazon:

Marriage: The Rock on Which the Family Is Built

Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality

The Seven Big Myths about Marriage: Wisdom from Faith, Philosophy, and Science about Happiness and Love

Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on Sexuality, Marriage, and the Family in the Modern World

Pope Francis: Archbishop Bruno Forte’s pastoral earthquake is a bastard

by Lisa Graas on October 28, 2014

Pray for Pope Francis

Pray for Pope Francis

This is not satire. I promise.

National Catholic Register:

In an audience with members of the international Marian movement Schönstatt, Pope Francis warned that the sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a mere association, and urged participants to be witnesses in a secular world.

“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.

He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.

He regretted that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”

Okay, then.

If you think I feel small right now, you are correct.

In regard to my Archbishop Bruno Forte reference in the headline, you may recall that he was credited with the “pastoral earthquake” that was to be acceptance of these “bastardizing” relationships.


Cardinal Burke sets record straight regarding major misrepresentation in earlier interview

by Lisa Graas on October 27, 2014


The following is a press release from Dignitatis Humanae Institute, whose word I trust implicitly. It is sad that BuzzFeed has caused such confusion on this matter with their misquote of Cardinal Burke. Pray for them.

Rome, 27 October 2014 — The Dignitatis Humanae Institute very much regrets having to take this unprecedented action to highlight an injustice done by a certain news organisation against Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the President of its Advisory Board.

The DHI was approached by BuzzFeed to arrange an interview with Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signature, which it willingly did. This is the now-notorious interview in which Cardinal Burke accused Pope Francis of having harmed the Church. Only the Cardinal never said any such thing.

Here is what Cardinal Burke actually said:

“I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.”

What BuzzFeed reported:

“According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no, it wouldn’t be correct,” Burke said, saying the pope had “done a lot of harm” by not stating “openly what his position is.”

(Emphasis added in both cases).

Cardinal Burke was clear, in what he actually said, that in his opinion a general lack of clarity regarding the Pope’s position had caused harm to the Church. BuzzFeed’s more sensationalist rearrangement of this text identifies the Pope himself as the cause of the harm. The difference is of course important.

Benjamin Harnwell, the Founder of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said:

“The DHI has no issue with the professionalism of the journalist who filed the original story, and we were willing to give BuzzFeed the benefit of the doubt to an ambiguously reported paraphrasing. However, once it was made clear that this controversial paraphrase did not reflect what Cardinal Burke actually said, we expected a speedy correction. Sadly, BuzzFeed management declined our repeated requests.”

Harnwell concluded:

“As the organizer of the interview, the DHI is therefore taking this unusual step in publishing its own clarification.”

Statement of Cardinal Burke:

Speaking through the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Cardinal Burke said: “As a priest, bishop and finally a cardinal, I have only ever sought to serve Our Lord’s Church in humble obedience to the Magisterium and to the Holy Father. Needless confusion regarding my motives does not help me in this service, especially when substantial questions of principle are at stake. I very strongly believe that one also serves loyally by expressing a contrary judgment, in accord with the pursuit of the truth, and that one only serves faithfully when one has dutifully and clearly spoken, in obedience to one’s conscience.”

“I did not state that Pope Francis has harmed the Church. Rather, as the now published verbatim interview reveals, I was perfectly clear that it was a lack of clarity about where the Holy Father stands on issues related to marriage and Holy Communion that had caused the harm. It is precisely for this reason that I subsequently said that only a statement from the Holy Father himself could now remove this lack of clarity.”

“Sadly, confusion, such as that generated by this particular interview, has been used to portray those opposed to Cardinal Kasper’s thesis as motivated by a personal animus against the Holy Father. This is just not the case, though it no doubt helps the cause of those with certain ideological axes to grind to make this appear so.” ENDS

Note to Editors

The DHI had sought to have this relatively innocuous correction published by BuzzFeed:

“Clarification: Cardinal Burke has asked us to point out that he did not actually say, as has been widely reported elsewhere, that “Pope Francis has harmed the Church”. What the Cardinal said was: “the lack of clarity [about what the Pope's position is] has done a lot of harm.”

BuzzFeed acknowledges the ambiguous phrasing of the originally published interview, which gives the impression that Cardinal Burke was severely criticising Pope Francis, an impression which is not present in the original interview (the full transcript of which can be read here).”

Source: Dignitatis Humanae Institute via email.

The Catholic Church in the West: Where obedience is crushed in the name of mercy for disobedience

by Lisa Graas on October 27, 2014


As I see it, the main problem with the Catholic Church in the West is that those who are obedient are crushed in the name of mercy for those who are disobedient. Anyone who has eyes to see knows that, but if you need examples, just listen to the outcry on traditionalist blogs which actually do often report facts about such things.

Father Ray Blake offers up his take on this situation, including a reference to the removal of Cardinal Burke which concerns me, as well.

Justice and Truth cannot be separated, they are objective realities and there is a connection between Justice and Truth, and Transparency. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, and it must be done honestly and by men who are themselves Just. The Holy Father recently in an address to representatives of the International Association of Criminal Law said ‘The corrupt person is a person who takes the “short-cuts of opportunism” that lead him to think of himself as a “winner” who insults and persecutes whoever contradicts him. “Corruption is a greater evil than sin”, and more than “be forgiven, must be cured”. For myself I had always thought corruption was the result of sinful men who like the ‘unjust judge had neither fear of God, nor regard for men’ Lk 18:2.

Forgive me for being taken aback quite a lot with the Pope saying “corruption is a greater evil than sin.” I must agree with Fr. Blake that corruption is a result of sin.

I really am having a lot of trouble with this. The Pope is saying that there are things worse than sin?

Let me repeat what Fr. Blake says about justice being seen out in the open.

Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, and it must be done honestly and by men who are themselves Just.

The main reason for this is that some of us are weak. It is because of our great weakness that mankind needs a pope. Personally, I am among the weakest. Because I have Bipolar Disorder, my will is much smaller than the average person’s will is. I have to really concentrate like a laser beam on what God expects of me because my will is so small. I have to use every bit of it to stay out of sin. That is good for me, believe me, but because my will is so small and weak, it is all the more important for bishops, and especially for the Pope, to avoid saying things like that there are things worse than sin.

Really, I am shaken.

The Pope has called the Church a “hospital for sinners.” The point of a hospital is to heal people of what ails them. Sin ails people. The Church is the means through which Jesus heals us, through her Sacraments, and especially through the Sacrament of Penance. We need that sacrament because there is nothing worse for us than sin. Someone please tell the Pope that for me.





Is Bishop Lynch confused about marriage?

by Lisa Graas on October 27, 2014


Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, offers a troubling account of the Synod on the Family here. (Note: The Synod is not yet complete.)

Canon lawyer Edward Peters writes on his blog:

I have read several times Lynch’s line wistfully closing the door on recognizing the sacramentality of same-sex unions as if such recognition were simply a bridge too far (that is, not impossible in itself, but only impossible for us now with the means at our disposal) and I cannot read it as other than reflecting a complete unawareness of the absolute necessity of marriage under natural law to anything that would be sacramental Matrimony by the will of Christ.

When bishops don’t seem to know even the basics about the nature of Holy Matrimony, it cuts to the heart.


Hat-tip, Pewsitter.


On Sr. Theresa Noble’s Communion Conversion Story

by Lisa Graas on October 27, 2014


As a Eucharistic convert to Catholicism myself, I think that it is best for me to say a word to Sr. Theresa Noble in response to her Communion conversion story and the follow-up which is getting a lot of buzz in the Catholic blogosphere. I understand where she is coming from in regard to ignorance, as I was once also ignorant. I became a Catholic after finding Jesus in the Eucharist at my first Mass, though I did not receive Him in the Eucharist until after RCIA and my baptism. It’s important to acknowledge an error in her claim for the sake of souls who are in mortal sin.

Her original article was in defense of the type of gradualism that I cannot defend, even though I can very much relate to ignorance and to God’s power in revealing Himself to us in His time and through the Sacrifice of the Mass. I take note of this comment in her follow-up article.

As many of you understood, I was simply sharing my journey. I was clear that I now know I should not have received the Eucharist under the circumstances I did. But at the same time, when I entered the church that day, I was an ignorant fool stumbling toward Christ for the first time in a long time and so I do not regret what happened that day.

She admits that the above “sounds dangerously close to relativism,” but says “it is not.” It actually is.

First, the type of ignorance for which there is no culpability is “invincible ignorance.” This is the level of ignorance of a very seriously mentally ill person, or of a drunken person as Cardinal Arinze explains in the video about mortal sin which I will embed below. A sin is a mortal sin based on more criteria than just whether we knew it was a mortal sin. While a sin is not a mortal sin if we did not realize that it was at the time, if we find out later that something we have done was a grave sin, we need to confess that, else it then becomes a mortal sin.

“I do not regret what happened that day,” is problematic in that once she realized that it was a sin and that it was a grave sin, it then became a mortal sin (because she is now aware of its gravity) which she needs to confess, else it remains a mortal sin. In other words, because she says that she experiences no regret for what she acknowledges is grave sin, we know that the sin is now a mortal sin. If she is continuing to receive Communion in this state of mortal sin, it’s sacrilege.

It is what it is.

Further,that she is stating these things publicly, particularly as a religious, it seems to be scandalous in that it leads others into sin.

Here are remarks from Cardinal Arinze (now retired) on mortal sin, including the necessity to confess (express regret for) grave sins that we did not know were grave sins when we committed them.

Hat-tip, Pewsitter.

Confused about what constitutes a mortal sin? Retired Cardinal Arinze explains

by Lisa Graas on October 27, 2014



Don’t you miss Cardinal Arinze? I know I do. He is now retired but I still listen to his remarks often, as I can find them. Here is Cardinal Arinze explaining mortal sin in the context of a question about “fundamental option,” which is a term I’d never heard before listening to this.