News from Tradition
Centenary of the Armenian Genocide
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the forced death marches of some 1.5 million Armenian Christians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Though there were a variety of motives involved, much of the violence inflicted was justified as being part of the jihad against infidels called by the Sultan. There is little doubt that the Armenians were slaughtered not just because of their ethnic identity but particularly because of their Christian faith.
Pope Francis, in a Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Square on Low Sunday (“Divine Mercy” Sunday in the Novus Ordo calendar), clearly stated that this action of the Turks was an act of genocide. In categorizing it as a genocide, the Pope unleashed a storm of protest from Turkish officials, who continue to deny the facts of the event. At the Mass, attended by many Armenians, the Holy Father stated:
“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered…
“Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”
Although the Pope’s words were clear and strong in condemning the tragedy and calling it what it genuinely was (a genocide), he neglected to state that the motivation of those who slaughtered the Christians was rooted in the “religion” of Islam. This should come as no surprise since Pope Francis has referred to Islam as a “religion of peace” numerous times, despite so much evidence to the contrary.
Cause for the Beatification of Helder Camara Begun
Earlier this year, the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Helder Camara was officially opened in Rome. In 1946 Camara’s name was proposed by the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to become an auxiliary of the archdiocese; he was rejected at that time because of his pro Nazi activities during the previous years. This not withstanding, Camara was named an auxiliary bishop in 1952 and then the archbishop of Olinda e Recife, Brazil, in 1964. Attending the second Vatican Council, Archbishop Camara became a leading voice amongst the “progressive” Council Fathers. Following Vatican II, Helder Camara was, without question, one of the leading voices encouraging Liberation Theology and Communism in general. He also was a very loud voice in opposing Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. Camara retired as archbishop in 1985 and died in 1999.
It would appear that the push for his beatification has to do with his “love for the poor and marginalized” which so clearly echoes the message of Pope Francis. Sadly, we are once again faced with the prospect of the beatification of someone who openly rejected much of the traditional teachings of the Church. Simply put, the process for beatifications and canonizations has been reduced to a political process rather than a religious one.
Archbishop Cordileone Under Attack
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, was faced with a full-page ad in the April 16th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle asking Pope Francis to remove him as archbishop. The ad was placed by a group of “catholics” who said, among other things, that the archbishop “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance [and that] Instead of your [Pope Francis’s] famous words ‘Who Am I to Judge,’ Archbishop Cordileone repeatedly labels the behavior of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as ‘gravely evil’… The City of Saint Francis deserves an Archbishop true to our values and to your teachings.”
This ad was in response to Archbishop Cordileone inserting a “morals clause” in the contracts of teachers in the archdiocesan schools, which, among other things, states that teachers cannot support homosexual unions and other immoral behavior.
While this sort of public “request” by a small but wealthy group of disgruntled “faithful” would normally have been effectively ignored in the Vatican, over the past six months Pope Francis has removed three bishops from their sees for being “divisive” and “intolerant,” so there is every reason to believe Archbishop Cordileone may face a similar treatment. It should certainly be noted that the three bishops who were removed are very sympathetic to Tradition and have offered the Traditional Latin Mass often, which can also be said of Archbishop Cordileone. All should certainly keep His Excellency in their prayers.
The case of one of the three conservative bishops is interesting because of its similarity with the San Francisco bishop. Bishop Finn of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph “resigned” on 21 April at the request of the Pope. For the past 18 months, the National Catholic Reporter, whose headquarters is located within Bishop Finn’s former diocese, has continually called for the bishop’s removal. It should be noted that Bishop Finn had, a number of years ago, informed the NCR that they could no longer call themselves Catholic because of their continued denial of many points of Catholic doctrine and morals.
Nepal Earthquake Miracle
As we must sadly recall, on 25 April of this year, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal. The damage caused was almost financially incalculable, but worse still were the over 10,000 residents who lost there lives. But in the small village of Okhalhunga, located in eastern Nepal, there were no casualties, though many homes and buildings were destroyed. The reason for this miraculous preservation of the inhabitants of this town was because almost all were attending an ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of two local men being held out-of-doors and thus away from any collapsing structures.
Although fewer than one percent of the population of this land-locked country between India and China are Roman Catholic, the lives of the residents of Okhalhunga were preserved because they were witnessing to their faith, a faith preached to the region by countless missionary priests and religious over the years.
Chimpanzees Are People Too
So say a group who have presented a case in a New York City court. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe has granted a hearing to decide whether two chimpanzees living at the State University at Stony Brook (Long Island) are “persons” who deserve to be released.
The case was brought in the name of the two chimps (named Leo and Hercules) by the Nonhuman Rights Project. The Project wants the court to find that Leo and Hercules have been “unlawfully detained”—and to order the university to release them to an animal sanctuary.
The animals qualify as persons, the group says, because they show highly complex cognitive functions including empathy, the ability to engage in mental time travel, and the capacity to suffer the pain of imprisonment.
Although this attempt may seem utterly absurd to most logically thinking human beings, there is a grave danger of the Court’s finding that the chimpanzees do qualify as persons. This is simply because “personhood” has been reduced to what a person does (their actions) as opposed to what a person is (their being). This rationale was part of what was used by the Supreme Court to justify its “legalizing” abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. If, indeed, Leo and Hercules are found to be “persons” based upon their actions or abilities rather than their “being,” we have indeed entered a new phase in the degradation of the human person.
Persecution of Christians by Muslims Continues
On Sunday, 19 April, ISIS released another video, showing the shootings and beheadings of two groups of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Twelve of the victims were shot to death in the desert and sixteen others were executed by beheading on a beach. This video was released almost two months after another which showed the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Christians by the same Islamic State. In the video, the masked murderers said the following:
“You will not have safety even in your dreams until you accept Islam… Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood… The Islamic State has offered the Christian community this [converting to Islam or paying a tax] many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated.”
While many in the media and in government continue to say that these acts are carried out by Islamic extremists and that Islam does not condone violence, there is another report that a 14-year-old boy in Pakistan was beaten and then set ablaze after saying he was a Christian. The boy was working as a tailor’s apprentice when he was approached by two young Muslims after leaving his job. They asked the boy what his religion was and when he said he was a Christian, they began beating him and poured kerosene over him and set it alight when he tried to flee. The youngster was hospitalized with burns covering more than half of his body. This act was not carried out by representatives of ISIS, but by Muslim neighbors of the boy. Once again we are reminded that these murderers and persecutors are acting in the name of Islam and following the dictates of the Quran; pretending otherwise is foolhardy.