Crazy? Angry? You decide and I couldn’t care less!

Germany for the Win!

Austria really tried to take the lead, but it looks like Germany has succeeded in this year’s pew clearing competition!

When are we going to stop listening to the German bishops and cardinals who have devastated the Church in their country? Can we stop putting them in charge of every get-together that comes out of the Vatican? Maybe the point is to get people to leave, but if it’s supposed to “draw in the marginalized”, let me let you in on a little secret. It ain’t working. It never has and it never will.

https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/05/26/record-numbers-leave-church-in-munich-archdiocese/

CNA Staff, May 26, 2020 / 08:00 am (CNA).- A record number of people left the Church in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising last year, a local statistical office said Tuesday.

The Munich statistical office told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, May 26 that 10,744 Catholics formally withdrew from the Church in 2019. It noted that this was a fifth higher than in 2018, when 8,995 people left.

Statisticians said this was the first time that annual departures had surpassed the 10,000 mark since records began. Previously, the highest figure was 9,010, set in 1992.”

Did you see that, Cardinal Marx? A RECORD NUMBER of people have left the Church in Germany. More than any of the years since the stats have been kept. They can’t get away from you and your ilk fast enough!

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the 66-year-old Archbishop of Munich and Freising, announced in February that he would not stand for re-election as president of the German bishops’ conference. He cited his age and his desire to spend more time in his archdiocese, in the Catholic heartland of Bavaria, which he has led since 2008.”

Yeah, spending more time in your archdiocese. That ought to do it, that is, if “it” is having another record breaking year.

In March, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bavaria’s public-service broadcaster, reported that people gave a variety of reasons for leaving, including a desire to stop paying church tax, the clerical abuse scandal and the position of women within the Church.

Uh, hello! The reason is that they don’t have any faith. Why is it they have not faith? Cardinal Marx and friends. If they had faith, they’d stay, and the last reason shows it is a lack of faith vs. a simple lack of confidence. They don’t even know the Faith after years of Cardinal Marx and company. And, if they had Faith, they wouldn’t be forced to give to the Church, they’d want to give.

The Church in Germany is largely funded through a tax collected by the government. If an individual is registered as a Catholic then 8-9% of their income tax goes to the Church. The only way they can stop paying the tax is to make an official declaration renouncing their membership of the Church. They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments or a Catholic burial.

And since they don’t have any Faith in Germany, they can now afford a nice vacation. There is no downside for them in leaving because they don’t know the Truth.

While the number of Catholics abandoning the faith has increased steadily since the 1960s, the Church’s income has risen. In 2018, the Church’s income rose to 6.64 billion euros, while 216,078 people left the Church, according to a report by the German bishops’ conference.

So, while the faithful had to pay to claim Catholicism, the German clergy was abusing a bunch and re-doing their homes.  Couple that with not knowing a darn about the faith, and why would they stay?

Last year the German bishops announced plans for a two-year “Synodal Way,” bringing together lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

They said the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge Church teaching and discipline.

And all those pie in the sky promises didn’t do a darn thing. Cardinal Marx pretty much told them they’d be free to live whatever lifestyle they wanted or achieve whatever ecclesiastical career they wanted. (And I do mean career.) They all still walked away. They gave them no authentic reason to stay. They gave them protestantism. Wonder what would happen if they gave them, say, belief inthe Real Presence? I guess that’s hard to do when you don’t believe it yourself.

In June, Pope Francis sent a 28-page letter to German Catholics urging them to focus on evangelization in the face of a “growing erosion and deterioration of faith.”

I guess the Holy Father didn’t realize that the German bishops themselves were the cause of the “growing erosion and deterioration of faith?”

“Every time an ecclesial community has tried to get out of its problems alone, relying solely on its own strengths, methods and intelligence, it has ended up multiplying and nurturing the evils it wanted to overcome,” he wrote.

Uh, where’s the proof they wanted to actually overcome evils? On the contrary, they seem quite enamored with them. “Heresy? No problem. Immorality? Love it. We’ll give them whatever they want to keep the euros flowing in.” Sadly, they didn’t see that plan going awry.

In September, the Vatican sent a letter to the German bishops declaring that their plans for the synod were “not ecclesiologically valid.”

And? Oh, yeah. They seem to be doing it anyway.

After a back and forth between the bishops’ conference and Vatican officials, the first synodal assembly took place in Frankfurt at the end of January. The second meeting is expected to go ahead, despite the coronavirus crisis, in September.

And the Vatican is saying what? “Don’t you do it! I mean it! I mean it this time. I really mean it this time!” Parents know this doesn’t usually end well. Moving the line of obedience means you’re about to get trampled.

In an interview May 22 with Der Spiegel, Cardinal Marx discussed his tenure as bishops’ conference president and his new book “Freiheit” (Freedom), published May 25.

He said that, despite being portrayed as liberal, he felt conservative.

Oooh! Sorry! I probably should have warned you not to take a drink before you read that one. I don’t know. Maybe in Germany that is considered conservative? If so, I can’t imagine what a liberal would look like.

“As a 15-year-old, I did not like the fact that after the Second Vatican Council old ceremonies and images were abolished in many places,” he explained. “Traditions are also something important.””

I’m not omnipotent, but I have a few guesses about Cardinal Marx. I think he wants what he wants, but he also wants to be able to put both hands on his chest and say in the most innocent way he can muster, “What???? I wasn’t in charge.” I think he understands perfectly well what Traditions are doctrinal, and he can’t wait to do away with them. To do this, he has been leading people to believe they can “evolve” (code word for making them non-existent). I don’t think he’s in any way conservative, because when you are, you don’t take a wrecking ball to doctrine and morality. He actually sounds a lot like our bishop from many years ago. After decades of persecuting any priest or laity with a shred of orthodoxy, he had the gall to say that he’d love to retire to my parish and spend his days saying the Extraordinary Form Mass. Not genuine at all.

Austria Sick of Being #2 to Germany’s Evil

James Martin, SJ, put me onto this lovely piece by New Ways, but he in no way wants homosexual blessings leading to same-sex unions. He’s not advocating for it, he just thought it was interesting. Or so goes his usual spiel when he posts something awful like this.

New Ways Ministry

Archdiocese of Salzburg Publishes New Book on Church Blessings for Same-Gender Couples

May 25, 2020

Austria’s Archdiocese of Salzburg has published a new book which explores the blessings of same-gender unions, an important step towards formal recognition of LGBTQ+ relationships in a country where marriage equality was instituted in 2019.

What are they formally acknowledging? Mortal sin? Sodomy? Masturbation? These guys are sick and are literally going to have hell to pay if they keep leading their flock astray.

Entitled The Benediction of Same Sex Partnerships, the book was reviewed in The Tablet, and includes quotes from an interview that liturgist Ewald Volgger held with KirchenZeitung Diozese Linz, the diocesan newspaper of Linz. Volgger shared that he was commissioned by Archbishop Franz Lackner to explore the “the question of an official Benediction” for lesbian and gay couples. While stopping short of defining these relationships as marriage, the text finds strong grounding for providing them with a formal blessing. The current area being explored, a Benediction, is described in The Tablet as “not a sacrament and therefore not at the same level as the Sacrament of Marriage…but an official act of blessing.”

Why stop there, gentlemen? I mean, if you’re going to bless sin, why not go all the way? You’ve already crossed the heresy line by saying you think that sin should be declared blessed, so why in the heck not??? Go for broke! You can beat Germany in the game of insanity! I know you can! With just a little more effort, I’m sure you can empty your pews faster than Germany. The race is on!

This book’s publication comes, Volgger noted, as increasing numbers of Catholics are embracing LGBTQ inclusion in the church. For the benediction outlined in the text to be declared an official liturgy, it would require an amendment to the Catechism’s discussion of homosexuality, which still contains language of ‘intrinsic disorder.’ Says Volgger, “an official liturgy must be based on church doctrine.” The text, co-authored with theologian Florian Wegscheider, also discusses the ethical and scriptural perspectives on same-gender marriage, as well as an examination of how marriage equality developed in Austria.

And they’re the tail that’s wagging the dog. Sorry, Volgger, that’s not how it works. Our Church doesn’t change its morality to meet the “increasing numbers of Catholics” who are embracing sin. There is no benediction of immorality. Oh, and, Wegscheider, the “marriage equality” movement developed in Austria precisely because of idiotic bishops not doing a darn thing to stop it, or even worse, leading the charge. It is neither scriptural nor ethical. It’s simply evil.

While Volgger is not certain of a timeline for when such a benediction could be instituted, he wished that it could occur ‘as soon as possible.’ Novena News reported that Volgger observed that theology has been behind the times in regards to the pastoral accompaniment that priests have been providing to same-gender couples for years.

How about half past never? Sounds terrific to me. And here’s the usual “theology has been behind the times” canard. But at least he’s honest. The church in Austria has been immoral for quite a while. And, BTW, this is exactly the kind of “accompaniment” Fr. Martin wants. He wants exactly what these guys want. He’s just not going to tell you that because, well, he’s a Jesuit.

Volgger also shared with KirchenZeitung Diozese Linz that Archbishop Lackner is not alone in his desire for a more inclusive church. He says that a “significant number of bishops want to see a change in thinking concerning the evaluation of same-sex partnerships in church teaching on sexual morality.”

Not even trying to hide what they want. Refreshing. Well, I suppose not quite because they do, indeed, want there to be “gay marriage.”

The German-speaking church has been particularly outspoken. In 2020, the new head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing said the church must find a way to recognize sam-gender couples. Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, a close advisor to Pope Francis, has made similar comments. Last year, in Germany, Bishop Dieter Geerlings, auxiliary bishop emeritus for the Diocese of Münster, reaffirmed his existing support for such blessings based on the “mutual responsibility” partners show for one another that is “valuable and praiseworthy, even if this bond is not in complete agreement with the church.” Bishop Felix Gmür of Basel, Switzerland, said the church had to find a meaningful way to engage such couples.

Not in complete agreement? Understatement of the Church’s history. You can’t have something good and praiseworthy based on a lie.

In Austria, the public tide has been turning significantly in favor of blessing same-gender unions, and Volgger says that “a new approach is not only open to discussion but can be demanded.” This development shows the great impact that public opinion and the influence of lay people can have on shaping the church. We hope that the call for an official Benediction continues and that this soon paves the way for sacramental marriage equality to follow.

As usual, Austria toddles off after Germany. Does anyone remember the first paragraph of this insolent piece?

The current area being explored, a Benediction, is described in The Tablet as ‘not a sacrament and therefore not at the same level as the Sacrament of Marriage…but an official act of blessing.’” It’s very clear that it’s just what they hope will be the next step towards same-sex “marriage.”

I have one question for them: If you’re not blessing sodomy and masturbation, what are you really doing? I mean, you’re obviously not going for “They’re just friends and isn’t that lovely.” We certainly don’t have heterosexual friendship blessings. So, the bottom line is that they are, very much indeed, trying to officially bless immoral behavior. And, like Volgger has admitted, it’s been going on for years. No shocker but, again, they’re trying to wag the dog.

 

 

 

 

               

Homeschoolers are About to Dump Harvard

Anti-Homeschooling Harvard Prof Doubles Down: ‘Right-Wing Christian Conservatives’ Became ‘Dominant’ and ‘Took Over’

SUSAN BERRY

19 May 2020

Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet doubled down Friday on her attacks against homeschooling, underscoring further her view that homeschooling parents are primarily “right-wing Christian conservatives” who may be abusing their children.

I get the feeling that some previously-homeschooled Harvard kid schooled this woman in one of her classes and she didn’t like it. Geez. Crazed much? I refrained from commenting on the insane narcissist her first time around, but now that she’s doubled-down…

In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Bartholet continued her call for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, this time further describing what she views as a form of education dominated by Christian conservative parents who engage in “maltreatment” of their children.

I went through years of morning sickness, even more of pregnancy, many labors, late night feedings, walking the floor with colicky, sick, or simply awake babies, not to mention the weird tantrum years that seem to hit three or four times at 3, 5 and 7 and there are the 20-something years, yet I’m somehow maltreating my children because I chose to homeschool? Does she even have children? Can’t really find much on her personal life but she seems awfully interested in the private lives of everyone else.

Over the past decades, right-wing Christian conservatives became the dominant group in terms of numbers, and they completely took over in terms of political activism,” Bartholet stated. “Their power has to do with their ideological fervor, their tactics, and the absence of any significant organized opposition. Many academics and the biggest teachers’ unions in the country have found homeschooling deeply problematic.

Let’s stop right there. I’m from California. If you think homeschoolers here are all “right-wing Christian conservatives” you’re nuts. Google, my friends. This is why, when California decides to try to impose some new restrictions, the lines wrap around the floors of the State Capitol many times. Do you really think it’s the vast amount of conservatives from California? Please. If this were true, we wouldn’t have such a tough time in elections!

Bartholet had been scheduled in June to present to an invited-only audience her call for a vast injection of state control over what she describes as the “unregulated regime” of homeschooling.

Last time I checked, that was called parenthood. Never knew we were an “unregulated regime.” She sounds like Meryll Streep’s character in “The Giver.” It’s creepy. You practically expect to hear “Precision of language!” at some point.

“Harvard Law School postponed the conference, however, stating the reason as “COVID-19.””

Let’s be real. It’s just like every other time people try to regulate homeschooling. The homeschoolers got ticked. And, oh, by the way, it’s because we actually love our children and want what’s best for them, not because we keep them chained to radiators. Those people tend not to show up for protests.

The summit was to have gathered various education policy and child welfare advocates “to discuss child rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States.”

The focus of the conference had been “problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling, in a legal environment of minimal or no oversight.”

This is so, I don’t know, Orwellian? Perhaps Elizabeth Bartholet might want to look at the Harvard roster. Do you know how many of those deprived homeschoolers go there??? Clearly Harvard put the kibosh on this ridiculous conference. They might want to figure out how to put a muzzle on the professor, too.

Bartholet created a firestorm in April when Harvard Magazine published an interview about her Arizona Law Review paper, titled “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection,” in which she lamented the freedom associated with homeschooling and the fact that “parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children.”

I’ve never had an ounce of scrutiny. I’m as close to an unschooler as homeschoolers get, and yet, because I didn’t want my children living with me the rest of their lives and having to support them (sarcasm for those who don’t understand it), I gave or got them the tools they needed to succeed. And because of all that lack of scrutiny, we’ve got degrees coming out the wazoo. Not one of my adult age children doesn’t have some sort of college degree. In fact, I think they all have multiple degrees. So, step off, parent wannabe.

Our interest in having our children succeed is FAR more than anyone else in this world, especially Elizabeth Bartholet. She’s a little more concerned with someone showing her up.

Bartholet provided the Gazette with her own history of homeschooling in America:

Behind the rapid growth of the homeschooling movement is the growth in the conservative evangelical movement. Conservative Christians wanted the chance to bring their children up with their values and belief systems and saw homeschooling as a way to escape from the secular education in public schools. They had fought the battle with public school systems to have their children exempted from exposure to alternative values in the schools and lost. When they started withdrawing their children for homeschooling, this propelled expansion of the homeschooling movement.

Wrong. I have several siblings, and all but one of them homeschooled their kids. We didn’t fight any battles with the public school systems. We were never in them. In short, we protected our kids from the crud right off the bat and, interestingly enough, that was more of a by-product of homeschooling than a reason to homeschool.

Many homeschooling experts, however, say her research about homeschooling is shoddy and not at all current, in particular her assertion that Christian parents homeschool primarily to instill their “values and belief systems” in their children.

A 2017 report by William Heuer and William Donovan at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute noted that, in 2012, only 17 percent of homeschooling families cited religious instruction as the predominant motivation for choosing that option.

After 2017, Common Core was probably a major reason. And look what just happened last week. Gates admitted it was a failure. Uh, we told you so! https://thefederalist.com/2017/10/25/bill-gates-tacitly-admits-common-core-experiment-failure/?fbclid=IwAR3W4Q5houlu9O0BNRegRCFKmMS1U8-BfymexIb3giVhaS1PmCZ77gvOQTw#.XruSOLbYqm8.facebook  So, yes, let’s listen to the “experts” like Bartholet. She’s as “experty” as Bill Gates.

“Environment in schools” had become the predominant reason for 25 percent of homeschoolers, and 91 percent listed it as one of the reasons that was important to them,” the researchers reported.

Well, that’s true, too. Who wants their kids trying to learn in an environment of chaos where discipline issues reign?

To Bartholet’s assertion that she has “evidence that there is a strong connection between homeschooling and maltreatment,” Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) wrote she agrees wholeheartedly that children need to be protected from abuse.

Only abusers wouldn’t agree with that. When are people going to stop making the vast majority of parents pay for the few bad ones? It’s ridiculous.

McDonald observed, however, that one of the many reasons parents choose to homeschool is to do just that – to protect their children from rampant bullying that exists in government schools and abuse by teachers and administrators:

I agree with Bartholet when she says in the article: “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.” She is concerned with families having this power, while I worry about giving that power to government.

A-MEN!

“Other dangers” of homeschooling, said Bartholet, “are that children are simply not learning basic academic skills or learning about the most basic democratic values of our society.”

The allegation that homeschoolers are lacking in civic knowledge and the means to contribute to “democratic society” is perhaps best addressed by the 2018 results of the Nation’s Report Card, released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), that showed only 15 percent of eighth graders in mostly public schools in the U.S. are at or above the proficiency level in U.S. History, with only 24 percent at or above proficiency in civics.

Oops. Why don’t you explain that, Ms. Bartholet? Could it be that civics to you means indoctrination to your liberal beliefs instead of actual civics? Civics is a wee bit more lofty than Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, or any of the other silly little class warfare months you and your posse deem more important that actual civics.

In addition, a Pioneer Institute study released in April revealed a historic drop in national reading and math scores among U.S. students since the adoption of the Obama-era Common Core standards a decade ago.

“Nearly a decade after states adopted Common Core, the empirical evidence makes it clear that these national standards have yielded underwhelming results for students,” said Pioneer executive director Jim Stergios in a statement. “The proponents of this expensive, legally questionable policy initiative have much to answer for.”

Yes. They. Do.

 

 Bartholet continued that many homeschooling parents are raising their children to be racist and sexist.

I know that was totally my goal when I started homeschooling. Guess I must have failed. Clearly, she’s lost all other arguments so she’s drawing from the racist/sexist card deck now. How about we kick small dogs, too?

“Many homeschooling parents are extreme ideologues, committed to raising their children within their belief systems isolated from any societal influence,” she said. “Some believe that black people are inferior to white people and others that women should be subject to men and not educated for careers but instead raised to serve their fathers first and then their husbands.”

Where does she get this stuff from?

However, Bartholet’s views about the homeschooling population once again appear, at best, uninformed.

The 2017 Pioneer study’s authors found “large increases in black and Hispanic homeschoolers,” as well as “data indicating an increasing number of Jewish and Muslim homeschoolers in the past 15 years.”

Another oops.

Additionally, a new RealClear Opinion Research poll released last week found 40 percent of families surveyed during the coronavirus crisis said they are more likely to choose to homeschool their children or engage in virtual learning once the pandemic subsides.

With political party as a factor, 45.7 percent of those parents who said they would be “more likely” to homeschool identified as Democrat, while 42.3 percent identified as Republican.

Among those parents who said they were “more likely” to homeschool, 36.3 percent were white, 50.4 percent were black, 38.2 percent were Hispanic, and 53.8 percent were Asian.

Well, sure! They realize how much education was stolen from their children in a packed classroom. There’s not enough individualized attention. There’s a lack of discipline. There are insane things like “Common Core” inflicted upon them. This could be something quite positive coming out of this pandemic. Parents have been forced to see what learning outside of a classroom can do for their family, even with (or maybe because of) the bloated online curriculum thrown at them from their teachers. What they don’t know yet is that actual homeschooling is even better! (Most homeschoolers point out that the kids who have been sent home due to the virus aren’t really homeschooling.) Hopefully, with a little investigation, parents will find that they are very well equipped to homeschool.

In response to Bartholet’s rant against homeschooling, the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts held a virtual conference last week titled, “Who Owns Your Children? Home Education in an Authoritarian Age.”

Keynote speaker Professor Robert George of Princeton University observed that, as a result of knowing and teaching many homeschoolers, he views homeschooling parents as encouraging their children’s critical-thinking skills.

“I see more willingness among homeschool parents to let their children raise questions that challenge their parents’ beliefs than I do on many college campuses where very few … seem to be willing to tolerate students or faculty members expressing dissent from … doctrines that are held as sacred,” he said.

Most parents know that “because I said so” doesn’t make for a lasting faith or education. Kids need to own it. They need to look at it from all sides. They need to realize their parents did the same thing. And parents need to be willing to accept the questions, and even some rebellion, as part of the learning process. The object is to guide the discussion. We’re basically the great moderators of our kids’ lives. It’s not always easy. Teens can be tough nuts to crack. Despite that, I’ve relished every moral, political or religious discussion I’ve had with my kids. It’s neat to watch them thinking it all through. These are some things that would be missed if the Elizabeth Bartholets of the world, who really don’t want them to think, get their way. Nope. They just want to stuff our kids full of junk and have them regurgitate it back. That’s not thinking. That’s indoctrination. You know, the thing of which all homeschoolers are accused.

“Actually, if I’m looking for violations of free speech or freedom of thought, I wouldn’t think to look at the homeschool movement so much as I want to look at the Yale campus or the Oberlin campus or one of the University of California campuses,” George added. “There’s where I see the real concerns about free speech and authoritarianism.”

Yes, yes, and yes. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend “No Safe Spaces.” Great pandemic family movie! Parents are not the thought police. That would be the likes of professors like Bartholet.

So, Harvard, this lady is making you look super bad. You might want to give her a muzzle before you find homeschoolers overlooking your university for schools that are a little friendlier to them. That would be your loss.

Bring on the Sacrament Machines!

May 12, 2020

Theologians concerned over bishops’ plans for 10-person pandemic Masses

by Joshua J. McElwee

Oh, goodie! I can’t wait to see what the “theologians” have to say. I think anyone who’s read the National catholic Reporter types lately can easily infer that they’re not interested in Catholics going anywhere near the Sacraments again until they’ve figured out how to blow them (the Sacraments, that is) to smithereens. While most of us can’t wait for the Sacraments to arrive again, they’re quite happy in the little virtual churches they’ve created in their own homes which they can manipulate any way they see fit. It’s a dream come true for them.

Several theologians are expressing concerns about a set of guidelines forwarded by the U.S. bishops’ conference to Catholic prelates across the country over how to restart public celebration of the Mass despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Remember when the term “theologian” meant something?

Among the main worries: how a plan for Masses with fewer than 10 people might unfairly segregate peoples’ access to the sacraments, whether such celebrations would downplay the liturgical role of the participating assembly, and if priests might burn themselves out in seeking to lead as many of the small celebrations as possible.

Isn’t it funny how jealousy and envy are always first in the mind of the NcR-friendly theologians? Look, if you can get to a Mass of 10 and I can’t manage to do so, GO FOR IT! Honestly, instigating envy is not helpful. The first thought should be, “We should fight for more than 10 people to be able to attend Mass!” not “Well, ask yourself why these people are going to get to go to Mass and those people aren’t!” Unless it’s a small chapel someplace, at least 50 could probably fit into a church and be very safely distanced, as in one person in each pew. Mandating some stupid 10-person rule for most churches where I live is ridiculous.

Also, isn’t it funny that the NcR peeps are sooooo concerned about priests burning themselves out by saying extra Masses on Sunday? Not downplaying the life of a priest, but the average guy usually commutes, works 8-10 hours a day, then comes home to a family. Is saying a 45-minute Mass every hour on Sundays (and maybe even a couple of vigils) during a pandemic going to be the final straw? Especially when everything else about parish life has come to a screeching halt? Since many of them live alone, seeing their flock might just be uplifting. It is the vocation they chose, after all. And, they might not have to deal with so much counseling of said flock when they can receive the graces of the Sacraments.

So, let’s go over this again. My medium sized parish could easily fit 64 in the pews – and actually a few more in the side pews – all while maintaining the 6-foot distance. Many parishes in my diocese hold close to a thousand (never make that amount). Heck, a 6-foot buffer might be possible for the regular Mass load in some parishes!  So, we all should be fighting the 10-person rule.

Also at question is why the bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship decided not to create its own set of national recommendations, but instead to provide prelates with those independently prepared by the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

Uh, maybe because it was quite logical? I realize it’s quite popular to reinvent the wheel but not really necessary.

As Felician Franciscan Sr. Judith Kubicki, a theologian at Fordham University, said: “It should be something coming out of the bishops’ committee. Not something that they’re borrowing from somebody else.”

Again with the jealousy. WHO CARES? And, BTW, in keeping with the idea that the NcR-chosen “theologians” want to create their own little church, Sr. Judith Kubicki just chimed in on this stupid work. Her quote clearly shows that she doesn’t quite understand why the sacraments are to be in person. Theologians! She opts for “the church had never before been confronted with a global pandemic in the digital era” routine. Sorry, sister. Global pandemics don’t change the proper form, matter and intent of the sacraments.

Anne McGowan, a theologian at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union, said the guidelines did a “pretty good job” balancing public health and sacramental concerns, but added: “I think it probably would be helpful … for the bishops to come up with some of their own maybe more standardized guidelines.”

“It seems like these are being forwarded like, ‘Here’s some things to think about. Good luck,’ ” said McGowan.

And, again, I ask why? As I’ve pointed out, no two parishes are alike. They have different size, staffing, governor mandates, etc.  

The U.S. bishops’ guidelines were first reported by NCR May 3, and were sent to prelates across the country April 30 by Hartford, Connecticut Archbishop Leonard Blair, the head of the bishops’ committee.

They took their cue from the Trump administration’s “Opening Up America Again” plan, which says the country will return to normalcy in three phases, allowing for gatherings first in groups of 10 people, then 50 and then on a more regular, unlimited basis.

Among the recommendations for the first phase: limiting access to the Mass via either a first-come, first-served system or on a rotational basis, asking congregants (but not presiders) to wear masks, and using hand sanitizer during distribution of Communion, which, they suggest, may still be received on the tongue.

And, for the liberals who detest Communion on the tongue, the last suggestion listed cannot happen. In many areas, the pandemic was accomplishing what they couldn’t. They thought they had just dealt the final blow to that horrible, awful, Communion on the tongue, but the USCCB suggested the opposite.

Kubicki and McGowan expressed most apprehension about how parishes would be able to limit access to the newly reopened Masses to only 10 people at a time.

“I think there are real concerns about sacramental access here,” said McGowan, saying any sort of first-come, first-served system “would seem to privilege somewhat those with the luxury of time.”

Isn’t this the same whiney complaint they always have? “Why can’t everyone (fill in the blank)?” Receive Communion? Get married to anyone they want? Believe what they want? Sin as they want? Etc., etc., etc. The answer? It is the reality of the situation. The one thing they have right is we’re living through a brutal time, but they are compounding it by envy. Do they suggest ways around it as many others have? Nope. They just are “concerned.”

The liturgist raised the particular question of essential workers who might only have a short window of time in which to go to Mass, and would not be able to come early to be first in line in order to gain access.

OK, Kubicki isn’t a spring chicken, but I’ve got to wonder why McGowan doesn’t have a little more understanding of how this can be accomplished. There are soooooooooooooo many different tech ways we can go about this. More Masses, on-line sign-ups, etc. Is it ever going to be as perfect as getting exactly what you want when you want it? Of course not. Is it better than nothing, which is what the insane truly want? Absolutely. And, let’s all remember, so far nobody is suggesting removing the dispensation from Sunday obligation. Don’t you think there are a good number of parishioners who might take advantage of the dispensation due to age or co-morbidities? Oh, yeah, there’s that. And on top of that…aren’t we all Catholic? Sacrifice is our game. Don’t you think we can reach out to fellow parishioners who may have not been able to get in and help them do so? Hey ladies, maybe volunteer to help with scheduling instead of stoking the fires of jealousy?

Kubicki, a former president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, was more forthright. “To me, this doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

Anyone shocked?

“How do you tell a parish that only 10 people can come to a Mass?” she asked. “Practically and pastorally, it seems like a nightmare. This is not like a drug store or a supermarket, where you let in 10 people and 10 people leave, or something like that.”

Well, Sister, it goes like this. “Dear parishioners, the governor is only allowing us to have 10 people at each Mass. We will be adding additional Masses to try and accommodate as many parishioners as possible. Please add your name to this list if you’d like to attend and you will be assigned a Mass. If you are unable to make that particular Mass, please contact Mrs. X and let her know which Masses you can attend and she will try to swap you with someone.” Literally not rocket science.

Timothy Brunk, a theologian at Villanova University, expressed similar concern. Imagining that a parish would have to somehow bar entry to the church building after 10 people had entered for Mass, he asked: “Do you station ushers … at the doors to say, ‘Don’t come in?’ “

Uh, yes. Our pastor has been working on a plan and volunteers for weeks. We’ve already had volunteers monitoring the 10-person limits for all these weeks, anyway. What? People want to help their pastors facilitate what they are able instead of whining? What a stinking novel idea!

Brunk, the author of a new volume on the modern practice of the sacraments titled The Sacraments and Consumer Culture, also raised the issue of priests who might work themselves to exhaustion in order to lead as many 10-person Masses as necessary to serve all their parishioners.

I’ve already addressed this. If you’re not married, Mr. Brunk, please don’t. You want to talk exhaustion? Try being up all night with toddlers who decide they want you , but you still have to go to work the next day. You’ll know what exhaustion is. Vocations aren’t always easy, and like the toddler years, this isn’t permanent. Get a grip, stop the wailing, and maybe do what you can to help your pastors get the rest they need in other areas to gear up for a full slate of Masses on Sunday for a while.

Noting that in some regions with a lack of priests there have been high numbers of parish mergers or closures, he said: “If you have a single priest providing sacramental ministry for two, three or four parishes, scheduling more Masses has the potential for turning priests into sacrament machines.”

Oh my gosh. Sacramental machines?! What a drama queen. (I’m totally going to start calling my priests buddies that, though!) In some areas, sure, it’s not going to be easy to add different Masses, but it can be done. Some shuffling may be needed, and some parishes may just have to have multiple vigil Masses instead of a Sunday slot, especially in rural areas where the priest has to drive an hour in between parishes. See? Ideas instead of crying.

McGowan spoke along the same lines, saying that even for priests who would seek to do as much as they can “there are limits to physical human stamina and what’s possible.”

I can’t possibly be the only one thinking this is over-the-top dramatic? Most of my priest friends miss being with their flock. Just for fun, I asked a priest friend a few questions. Here they are with their responses.

Me: If you had to celebrate six 45-minute Masses on a Sunday during this pandemic, would you keel over and die?

Sacrament Machine: No. I’ve done that regularly in rural areas.

Me: How many do you think you could do on Sunday at a single parish without keeling over and dying?

Sacrament Machine: 10? I’d be tired but could do.

Me: How would you compare it to a regular Joe stocking shelves for 8 hours a day? Farming?

Sacrament Machine: Waaaaaay easier. Some priests are soft men. (I’m assuming he had Jesuits in mind, but it’s just a guess.)

Honestly, I have more than a few priest friends, and I’m relatively sure this is how they all feel. Thank you, gentlemen!

Oh, and just to stop some of you before you start ranting. I am not, of course, talking about he elderly, sick, co-morbidity laden priests. Should be obvious but I’d rather just put out the disclaimer so nobody can waste time ranting on that.

Each of the three theologians also wondered about the guidelines’ suggestion that Catholics could still receive Communion on the tongue “without unreasonable risk.”

Isn’t it cute how they held off on this one until near the end?

Kubicki proposed that in order for a priest to give Communion to those requesting to receive it on the tongue, he would need to sanitize his hands after each person. “What kind of liturgical practice is that?” she asked.

Bahaha! Really? Now you’re suddenly worried about liturgical practices?  Please. Also, why is the Sister fine with not sanitizing when touching the communicant’s hand? Is she vying for the drop method? A priest can place in the hand or tongue without touching either. However, it has been suggested that the priest sanitizes IF he touches hand or tongue. And? Oh, yeah. It all comes down to that she doesn’t think public Masses should resume at all. I keep forgetting.

“At least one bishop appears to agree with Kubicki. Knoxville, Tennessee, Bishop Richard Stika has requested on Twitter several times in recent days that people receive the Eucharist in the hand. In a May 8 post, he said they should do so to protect themselves, “the minister of Communion and the next person.”

Requested? Not sure I’d characterized it as that. More like threatened.

“Very Catholic and Christ-like,” the prelate described it.

Umm, Christ touched the lepers and the sick (with much chastisement), but those who wish to receive His Body and Blood on the tongue are somehow un-Christlike? I hope I’m there when he has to explain that statement to Our Lord.

McGowan said that if she had drafted the Thomistic Institute’s guidelines, she might have encouraged those wishing to receive on the tongue to place themselves among the last in the Communion line as a way of reducing the risk to others.

I would be FINE with that. See? Creativity can be used. We actually did this for many flu seasons in an elderly parish. Worked out just fine.

Brunk mentioned that a separate set of guidelines from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions suggested that reception on the tongue be temporarily prohibited. He said he would like to know if the members of the bishops’ committee had reviewed the federation’s guidelines, and if they might also be officially distributed to the country’s prelates.

Apparently, the bishops didn’t ask the “Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.” Why should they listen to their ideas over the Thomistic Institute? How many MDs are in that group? Oh, didn’t he know that this was more than a bunch of theologians who put this together?

Here’s the nice list on the Thomistic Institute site. 
 
Dr. Timothy P. Flanigan, M.D. (Prof. of Medicine (infectious diseases)

Alpert Medical School of Brown University); Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. (Prof. of Biology, Providence College)

Dr.Thomas W. McGovern, M.D. (Catholic Medical Association National Board Member, Former

Clinical Research Physician, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases)

Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P. (Assist. Prof. of Theology, Director of the Thomistic Institute, Dominican

House of Studies)

Fr. Dominic Langevin, O.P. (Assistant Professor, Editor of The Thomist, Dominican House of Studies) 

Fr. Paul Scalia (Vicar for Clergy, Diocese of Arlington)

Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. (Thomistic Institute).

We are grateful for the comments and review of

Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo (Attaché, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in

Geneva and Secretary General, International Catholic Migration Commission)

Dr. Thomas Cesario, M.D. (Prof. of Medicine (infectious diseases), Univ. of Calif. Irvine School of Medicine );

Dr. Paul Cieslak, M.D. (Infectious Diseases & Public Health, Catholic Medical Association member)

 Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, M.D., Ph.D. (Prof. of Medicine, Georgetown University)

Dr.Suzanne Strom, M.D. (Associate Clinical Professor, University of California, Irvine)

Fr. Christopher Pollard ( Diocese of Arlington

Fr. John Baptist Ku, O.P. ( Assoc. Prof., Dominican House of Studies )

Now, I went through the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions’ guideline and did not find much of a list, but here you go:

In collating this brief guideline, I have drawn on the wisdom of multiple diocesan guidelines and policies; I have curated the discussions on the FDLC Listserve. In addition, I have been enlightened by articles and online webinars. Special thanks to Dr. Jerry Galipeau, Mrs. Vickie Klima, Father J. Michael Joncas (Wait! Who? Is the guy who wrote On Eagles Wings a famous virologist too???), Father Michael Nolan, Matt Reichert, and Dr. David Shapiro, MD

Uhhhhhh, can anyone see the difference in the doctor list? Especially in the area of biology, virology and infectious diseases??? I don’t even know who most of these people are, much less the author and her specialties.

Although neither the federation’s nor the Thomistic Institute’s guidelines are mandatory for bishops to follow, Brunk observed that by being distributed by the bishops’ conference “the Thomistic Institute guidelines have a sort of ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.'”

And I think I just explained why.

 

 

 

A Little Movie of Perseverance

I’ve spent the last week watching people spiral even more than before on social media over this virus. Do I blame them? Nope, but the question is, what do we do now?

I can’t really say “Forget about everlasting life” because that should be our ultimate focus, but for now, let’s just stop and think about the next few years as our stepping stone to the ultimate.

If we’re not personally devasted by this virus, I’m sure we have people in our lives who are. Hopes and dreams of financial security have been squashed. Health has been affected. People are scared for their loved ones and themselves, etc., etc., etc. I don’t think I really need to list all the negative effects, so, again, let’s just look forward.

We can be at peace again. A big step to that is reopening of Mass and the Sacraments. The Grace from those can do wonders. Looks like many places are starting to open for them, so “Yay!” Like FDR said, “When you’re at the end of you rope, tie a knot and hold on.” Help is on the way or is already right in front of you. I can’t exactly say I grew up with this example so I’ve always had to fight against my Eeyore nature.

I found a great movie on Amazon Prime called Edie. It wasn’t religious in any way, and there were a few profanities in it so be forewarned, but it was delightful and uplifting, especially in times like these. It made me think of all of us who are going through some setbacks in life. It’s hard for us to see sometimes, but these setbacks are likely not permanent unless it involves death. And, for most of us, they are not going to last forever no matter how unpleasant they are. And, news flash! It’s not even likely the worst thing that will happen to us in our lifetimes. Odds are we can rebuild, even if it’s not the same model we had in mind.

I don’t want to give the whole plot away, but this is what I’ll say. The main character, Edie, had a tough life. While some of us have tough days, months, or years, she had about five decades of setbacks. FIVE. We find her life has now taken a turn and she is faced with a decision: she can keep existing or she can start living. She chooses the latter. Just to clarify, she could have ditched out on her responsibilities and vows, and even though she was tempted to, she did not. She was simply now in a place to continue down the same path or choose a new one. She’s presented with more obstacles along the way, which make her question the new choices. That’s all I’m going to say about it because I hate spoilers. I’m sure her life is a life many have lived.

I loved the message, especially during this day and age, that no matter how long you’ve been set back, you can indeed move forward. This isn’t the victim message we receive in these times. We’re told we just have to crumble until the world is made perfect for us and our every whim is met. Certainly, Edie felt she was a victim of circumstances and duties beyond her control, but when the opportunity came to try for happiness, she took it. She didn’t let the past hold her back.

I look back on life and all the numerous setbacks we’ve had. The fact is, we’ve all had them and we will likely have them again. The usual question we had was “WHY?!” but, honestly, hindsight is 20/20. Some of them were great blessings, even though we didn’t know it at the time. Yes, some were not, and that took a huge exercise of faith and trust, but those exercises were also for our benefit. We could have crumbled in the face of adversities, but we were far better for plodding through something we didn’t think we could and getting to “the other side” of them.

I’m not sure how secular people are going to deal with what they think is the loss of all – all they have, all they worked for, etc., etc., etc. – because there are days when I know Our Lord, Our Lady, and our guardian angel were the only thing that kept us from becoming immobilized with fear, worry, or depression. Honestly, if you’re not one to think about God and you’re going through a particularly tough time right now, maybe now’s the time to give Him a second look? Do you really have anything to lose by it? It’s a Pascal’s wager. If I’m wrong, you haven’t lost anything. If I’m right, look what you’ve gained! And no, belief in God doesn’t mean no hard times. Faith is not magic and this earthly life doesn’t compare to everlasting life with God where there will be no more sorrow.

To the faithful who are spiraling, see it for what it is: the devil is using this to get you. Fight him! Make the choice to use the spiritual tools you have available for just such an emergency and TICK. HIM. OFF! This is something we can get through. For some of us it may be a long road and for some very short. We have no way of predicting that. Give yourself the pep talk you’d give to others. It’s so much easier to tell others to put on their big kids pants and keeps a stiff upper lip, but you can, too. Remember, no matter how much you think the weight of the world is on you, that you might be alone, etc., it’s not true. It’s a lie of the devil because we are the Body of Christ.

When this whole thing started, I warned people that they were likely going to feel oppression – physical, material, and spiritual – like they’ve never felt before. I’m not going to get into my weird biography, but I’ve lived this before in similar ways. Good news? Totally survivable if you make the choice to do it. Bad news? Might not be the worst thing you go through. I also say this with experience. One thing that helped me get some perspective was looking at the examples of others who had it rough and came out on the other side. The more you hear peoples’ life journeys, the more you find personal triumphs over what seem to be insurmountable obstacles, because it’s pretty much impossible to find anyone who hasn’t had a setback in life. Obviously, the Saints are great examples, but sometimes it’s nice to find examples a little closer to home (“saints” with a little “s”). Even though we should be striving to be Saints, you never know what the triumphs are of the people on your own blocks. So try to find the uplifting in the time of downers even if it’s just through a movie. Reach out to people. We’re supposed to be a community of believers. Try and find those who have lived through tragedy and learn from them. I think you’ll find you’re not alone and hope is eternal!

Hey Islam! Let’s Do Dinner!

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/05/01/0257/00561.html#en
Christians and Muslims: Protecting together the places of worship

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

The month of Ramadan is so central in your religion and therefore dear to you at personal, familial and social levels. lt is a time for spiritual healing and growth, of sharing with the poor, of strengthening bonds with relatives and friends.

…and, for some, of terrorizing together, apparently. Seriously, Ramadan 2020 has already led to 36 attacks in the name of Islam and 143 deaths up until day 9. Who knows what it is now? How about at least we say “Happy Ramadan! Please don’t kill people!” Not gonna lie, I don’t get Muslims. I don’t want to get Muslims. Seriously, it’s weird to think you’d want to be connected to a faith where a HUGE portion of the believers think killing infidels is justified. (Cue the cries of “What about the Inquisition?” even though they don’t really know what they, yes, THEY were. Whenever someone throws out “the Inquisition” I always like to lead off with “Which one?”) I want Muslims to become Christians because, as my fellow humans, I love them. I know many pleasant Muslims. Don’t wish them any harm and I think they feel the same about me. In fact, I’m quite sure many of them don’t want America looking like their homeland. They want to uphold all they’ve been told is good about their faith. However, I don’t think they’re being realistic because, as we’ve seen from the Middle East and a good deal of Europe, the extremists in the ranks of their believers always seem to win out.

For us, your Christian friends, it is a propitious time to further strengthen our relationships with you, by greeting you, meeting you on this occasion and, where possible, by sharing in an iftar with you. Ramadan and ‘Jd al-Fitr thus are special occasions to foster fraternity between Christians and Muslims. It is in this spirit that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue offers its prayerful best wishes and hearty congratulations to you all.

We’ve been “dialoguing” for a quite a long time and, quite frankly, our religion has gotten weaker and weaker as the decades roll on. I’m not against dialoguing. I’m just against placating evil, and that’s all the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has been doing. Fulton Sheen laid out the perfect blueprint, yet it’s not been tried by the likes of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. We just keep giving them the same old schlock. “Your religion is so peaceful. Your religion is so honorable.” And now? “Your religion is so spiritually healing.” In short, you do you.

Let’s take a gander at some of “Mary and the Moslems” by Fulton Sheen. I’m going to snip a bit, but please give it a full read. It’s really cool and he shows God’s design, which is, of course, awesome.

Mary and the Moslems

FULTON J. SHEEN

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism, along with particular customs of Arabia. Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty and His Creative Power, and uses it, in part, as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet, announcing him, just as, to Christians, Isaias and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ.

<snip>

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

Yes, our missionary effort has failed, yet we’re doubling down on that failure with a “Please, please like us” approach. We who live in a world less familiar with Islamic tyranny than our ancestors have wimped out on being soldiers of Christ, but Muslims have not wavered from being soldiers of Mohammed. Why do you think Islam overtook Europe and is now the fastest growing religion in the United States? Maybe because they’re all too willing to talk about their faith, while Catholics (not everyone, but as a whole) are worried about being accused of proselytizing by the Vatican or, even worse in the mind of some, being told they are meanies.

At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, “When the locust swarms darken vast countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: ‘We are God’s host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world with all that is in it.'”

BAM! Please get your head out of the sand and stop saying it isn’t so.

And now for Sheen’s plan, which is more like God’s plan:

The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that, the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teaching of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God. This is the line of argument:

The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and, also, in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: “O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”

When Mary is born, the mother says: “And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord against Satan!”

The Koran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Moslem tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered: “Do you not know that God, when He created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by His Power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say. ‘So be it, and it was done.'”

The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: “Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.” In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are forty-one verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say: “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”

This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception which the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as mentioned earlier. Moslems attended the Church services in honor of Our Lady; they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems, who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her Divine Son. She is forever a “traitor,” in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.

Many of our great missionaries in Africa have already broken down the bitter hatred and prejudices of the Moslems against the Christians through their acts of charity, their schools and hospitals. It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the forty-first chapter of the Koran and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of heaven if she had not also borne One Who was the Saviour of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were prefigures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a postfigure of Mary! The Moslems should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing.”

Yes! Yes! And yes! This is how you do it. “Let’s do dinner” gets us nowhere. This is TRUE ecumenical dialogue (which some seem afraid of, but I am not). “Here’s what we’ve got in common (using their own texts) and here’s a little history on what’s occurred between members of our faiths.” More often than not, Muslims don’t even know their own history. Mary is the path to Christ for, well, everyone, and yet, when was the last time you’ve heard her mentioned by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue? It ain’t found here:

“The thoughts we like to share with you this year following our cherished tradition are about the protection of the places of worship.

As we all know, the places of worship occupy an important place in Christianity and Islam, and in other religions as well. For both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favours silence, reflection and meditation. They are spaces where one can go deep in himself/herself, so favouring for God-experience in silence. A place of worship of any religion therefore is “a house of prayer” (Isaiah, 56, 7).

Places of worship are also spaces for spiritual hospitality, where believers of other religions also join for some special ceremonies like weddings, funerals, feasts of the community etc. While they participate in the events in silence and with due respect to the religious observances of the believers of that particular religion, they also savour the hospitality accorded to them. Such practice is a privileged witness to what unites believers, without diminishing or denying what distinguishes them.

And where are we going with this?

In this regard, it is worthwhile to recall what Pope Francis said when he made a visit to the Heydar Aliyev Mosque, in Baku (Azerbaijan) on Sunday, 2 October 2016: “Meeting one another in fraternal friendship in this place of prayer is a powerful sign, one that shows the harmony which religions can build together, based on personal relations and on the good will of those responsible”.

A little background here. Azerbaijan wants to be thought of as a forward-thinking country. They are not your typical Muslim country. In short, it’s all about wealth for them. They’ve modernized their transportation, hosted international sporting events and have built a site hoping to host the Olympics, among other things. In short, they’re hoping to be a bit like, oh, I don’t know, maybe, Dubai when they grow up and be known as the cultural kids on the block. They’ve even donated a bunch of money to the Vatican. While I’m sure Pope Francis went there out of gratitude, he probably didn’t go there for the whopping 200 or so Catholics in the country. Yes, there is harmony but it doesn’t have much to do with the mutual respect for religion.

And speaking of the UAE:

In the context of recent attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues by wicked persons who seem to perceive the places of worship as a privileged target for their blind and senseless violence, it is worth noting what the Document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi, on 4 February 2019, said: “The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law”.

Let’s see, Muslims bomb Christian churches all over the Middle East and regularly launch bombs into Israel. Perhaps I missed the news stories of the Catholics bombing synagogues and mosques? I notice both of these quotes come from countries where terrorism is slim to none. It’s almost a “Hey! Let’s continue not bombing each other!” Where’s the religious dialogue? Where’s Mary? Nowhere to be found.

While appreciating the efforts done by the international community at different levels for the protection of the places of worship worldwide, it is our hope that our mutual esteem, respect and cooperation will help strengthen the bonds of sincere friendship, and enable our communities to safeguard the places of worship to assure for coming generations the fundamental freedom to profess one’s own beliefs.

With renewed esteem and fraternal greetings, in the name of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we convey friendly wishes for a fruitful month of Ramadan and a joyous ‘Id al-Fitr.

From the Vatican, 17 April 2020

Miguel Angel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ

President

Rev. Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage

Secretary

A fruitful month of Ramadan? That means vastly different things depending on where you go. For many, fruitful is measured by how much death they can bring about. Whatever it is, it’s not religious dialogue. When talking about Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr, it might have been more fruitful if the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue had thrown in something about, maybe, Lent and Easter??? And then maybe throw in “If you could not bomb us on Easter next year, it would be cool. You know, like how we didn’t bomb you during ‘Id al-Fitr?” Sigh. It’s amazing that the Rev. Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, of Sri Lanka, could put his name on this letter.

In short, we’re losing ground on “interreligious dialogue” on every front. Placation and appeasement over Truth has been the rule of the day. You know, because we wouldn’t want to be proselyting and all. Remember when spreading the truth was called missionary work and a good thing? The days where people clamored for Catholicism? Now that’s somehow become a bad thing.

So, how about from now on, we give Fulton Sheen’s method a shot?

%d bloggers like this: