March 2016 Print

News from Tradition

Towards a “Protestantization” and an “Anglicanization”

In the French newspaper Présent on November 13, in answer to Anne Le Pape’s questions, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, declared:

“This last assembly of the synod showed the entire world the image of a profoundly divided episcopate, some of whom wanted to change doctrinal and disciplinary measures which had already been decided by the pontifical Magisterium and the ordinary and universal Magisterium, in particular: the grave immorality and unnatural nature of acts of sodomy, and of practicing homosexuality; the impossibility of admitting impenitent adulterers to the sacraments; and the immorality of all practical forms of divorce. Not since the Arian crisis in the 4th century have we heard of Catholic bishops insolently and shamelessly proclaiming heresies or semi-heresies in an official assembly of the Church.”

The world was able to witness this appalling fact during the synod sessions. Bishop Schneider also said:

“It was also clear that the control of the principal administrative structures of the Synod (‘the behind-the-scenes power’) was resolutely placed in the hands of ecclesiastics who were in support of the said doctrines and semi-heretical practices. This display of power leads to the impression that in our days, one is free and has every right in the Church to propagate unorthodox theories with impunity, and even to be rewarded in the end for doing so. The nature of the bishops’ magisterial ministry consists in keeping and faithfully administering the deposit of the Faith, which does not personally or individually belong to them. One of the most important expressions of this ministry consists in shedding light upon the Catholic truths, without changing their meaning. On the contrary, in the Synod there was an eclipse of the truth which has caused a general confusion as to the discipline of the Church regarding divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. Pope St. Gregory I explains in the Pastoral Rule, II, 7, that in the head of the body of the Church, the bishops have the function of the eyes, and that if the bishops adopt the spirit of the world, they fill the eyes of the Church with a dust that clouds her vision.”

Have the worries you voiced for the future of the family proven justified? Some of the Synod Fathers feared there would be ambiguous declarations. What was the outcome?

Among other ambiguous declarations, I would like to point out the ones I consider the most dangerous, as they undermine the very bases of Catholic truths:

  • The accent placed on the positive qualities of persons living in an objective and permanent state of sin, thus minimizing the reality and gravity of the evil. It is a sort of moral camouflage and a spiritual illusion.
  • The improper and inadmissible application of the principle of moral imputability to the case of irregular conjugal unions. This presupposes, or at least favors, the theory of a “fundamental option” and the theory that denies the distinction between venial sin and mortal or grave sin, both of which theories are condemned by the Magisterium.
  • Making admittance to Holy Communion depend, in the end, on the divorced person’s own decision, according to the state of his conscience and his discernment in his “heart of hearts” with the help of his confessor, without requiring a life of complete continence. This opens the door to the Protestant principle of subjective judgment, and thus to a sort of “Protestantization.”
  • Making admittance to Holy Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics depend on the position of the local bishop. This opens the door to the principle of doctrinal and disciplinary particularism, and therefore to a sort of “Anglicanization,” which leads to the dissolution of true catholicity.
  • Issues of Death and of Life
  • Over the course of the past year, there have been numerous examples of individuals who have demanded, and often won, the “right to die with dignity.” In all of these cases, the persons involved were suffering from chronic, incurable or terminal illnesses and wanted to end their lives before they became completely incapacitated. As abhorrent as these cases have appeared to the correctly-formed Catholic conscience, one could at least understand the reasoning of the persons involved, as faulty as it may be.

    Late last year another “right to die” came to the attention of the world which, in addition to defying the moral law, defied human reason. A British woman decided that she wanted to discontinue her life-preserving kidney dialysis because, as she put it, her life had “lost its sparkle” and that she did not want to be “ugly or old.” Sad to say, the judge in the case decided that she did indeed have the right to stop the dialysis, even though this was against the advice of her physicians and family.

    To the judge’s credit, in acknowledging that she had the right to refuse treatment under the law, he clearly saw her decision as wrong. He wrote, C [the woman’s identity in court papers] has led a life characterized by impulsive and self-centered decision-making without guilt or regret, has had four marriages and a number of affairs and has, it is said, spent the money of her husbands and lovers recklessly before moving on when things got difficult or the money ran out. It is clear that during her life C has placed a significant premium on youth and beauty and on living a life that, in C’s words, ‘sparkles.’ My decision does no more than confirm that in law C is entitled to refuse the treatment offered to her for her benefit by her dedicated treating team.

    It is most distressing that God’s precious gift of life could be so easily tossed aside by the loss of “sparkle” in one’s existence or because one does not want to be “ugly or old,” as if loss of sparkle, age, or beauty indicated the value of one’s life.

    While this was transpiring in Great Britain, a man from Texas was put in jail for brandishing a gun in order to prevent his comatose son from being taken off life support following a stroke. Doctors in the hospital had declared the son brain dead and had alerted an organ donor group about his imminent death. Believing that his son might still recover, the man entered the hospital room and held hospital staff at bay until he was arrested.

    This story did end happily. The father was released from jail and his son has made a significant recovery—called a miracle by doctors—and had nothing but praise for his father. He stated that: There was a law broken [entering the hospital with a gun], but it was broken for all the right reasons. I’m here now because of it… It was love. It was love. It’s the duty of a parent to protect your children and that’s all he did. Everything good that made me a man is because of that man sitting next to me.

    Although this incident did end well, it is very important to remember that there is much pressure placed on doctors by the various organ donor groups to declare a patient “brain dead” as quickly as possible. Sad to say, the “harvesting” of human organs is fast becoming a lucrative enterprise, and this often leads to not only pressure being put on doctors to declare brain death, but also on grieving family members to agree to the organ donation.

    Any Catholic family faced with a situation similar to the one above should consult their parish priest for moral guidance on how to proceed. Many hospitals take the organs from the patients while they are still on life support and their hearts are still beating; in this case, it is the taking of the organs which causes the death of the patient, which is, of course, a sin against the 5th Commandment.

    The Vatican and the Environment

    Ever since the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, the Vatican has been working overtime in order to promote the environmentalist agenda, which is more rooted in secular humanism than in the Faith.

    On December 8, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a light display was projected onto the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica. The theme of the display revolved around the protection of “mother earth” and even included some images of ancient pagan deities. Archbishop Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, stated that the light show: present[s] images inspired of Mercy, of humanity, of the natural world, and of climate changes. The Archbishop also noted that it was intended to emphasize the Vatican’s support of the United Nations Climate Control Conference going on in Paris at the time of the light show. Many Catholics voiced their outrage that St. Peter’s Basilica should be used for such a secular purpose, especially one which effectively glorified the worship of “mother earth” and included pagan deities.

    In another incident, Peter Cardinal Turkson, in Paris for the U.N. Climate Control Conference, spoke about controlling the population growth as a means of preserving the resources of the earth. The Cardinal made the following astonishing remarks: This has been talked about, and the Holy Father on his trip back from the Philippines also invited people to some form of birth control, because the church has never been against birth control and people spacing out births and all of that. So yes, it can offer a solution…

    Having more mouths to feed is a challenge for us to be productive also, which is one of the key issues being treated over here, the cultivation and production of food, and its distribution…

    So yes, it engages us in food security management, so we ensure that everybody is fed and all of that. The amount of population that is critical for the realization of this is still something we need to discover, yet the Holy Father has also called for a certain amount of control of birth.”

    Although the Cardinal did make clear that the controlling of births could not be brought about using artificial means, it is obvious that his remarks cannot be reconciled with the Church’s traditional teaching regarding procreation.

    It appears more and more obvious that Pope Francis has aligned his vision of the Church with the vision of the secular world.

    Journalistic Hypocrisy

    In mid December 2015, the news media reported with horror that the Islamic State (ISIS) had killed 38 babies after a Sharia law judge ordered a fatwa authorizing its members to, kill newborn babies with Down Syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children. Not surprisingly, and quite rightly, the news media condemned these latest actions and made the obvious reference to the killing of the mentally and physically disabled in Nazi Germany.

    A day or two after this news came to light, Bethany Mandel wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Post, which, like all the major newspapers throughout the country, had the story of the ISIS fatwa prominently featured. Mrs. Mandel wrote about a new “reality series” created for a major television network which featured young adults with Down Syndrome. Regarding the series, she wrote: “I’m here. I’m alive. I’m human.” That’s what John, one of the stars of A&E’s new reality show “Born This Way,” proclaimed during the premiere episode last week.

    You see, John has Down syndrome. It seems bizarre that someone capable of formulating a sentence thinks it’s necessary to defend his own humanity, but sadly, John was speaking for himself and millions of others like him who, based on a prenatal genetic test, were recommended for abortion. John survived. Most don’t. The statistics are hard to pin down, but experts estimate 90 percent of babies with Down syndrome are never born. Think about the last time you saw a child with the telltale facial features indicative of the genetic condition. It’s far more likely you’ll see them in an adult, who was born before prenatal testing became routine. That doesn’t mean Down syndrome is becoming less prevalent; it means that parents are less and less likely to carry these pregnancies to term.

    After writing about why some of the families chose to be part of this series, Mandel drove home her point very succinctly when she stated: Weeding out genetic diseases like Down, whose sufferers can and still do lead full and healthy lives, is eugenics, pure and simple. The most extreme version comes from the barbaric terrorists of ISIS, who reportedly issued a decree to execute babies born with Down and other genetic diseases… The fact that we need a TV show to humanize individuals with Down syndrome is deeply troubling to begin with.

    Those with disabilities are suddenly expendable and deemed unworthy of the effort it takes to raise them. We need convincing to believe in their value as human beings. When John’s mother was told she was pregnant with a child with Down, she was told by doctors, “Don’t expect a lot . . . He will never be a productive member of society.” With more and more babies with Down aborted, it has become vital to show the world just how wonderful and, yes, normal, life with a Down syndrome family member can be.

    Clearly Mrs. Mandel recognized the irony (indeed, the hypocrisy) of a news media condemning the actions of ISIS while saying nary a word about the number of Down Syndrome children who are murdered in their mothers’ wombs right here in the United States.


    Bakers Pay the Price

    The owners of an Oregon bakery, Aaron and Melissa Klein, were ordered to pay $144,000 in damages by the state Labor Commissioner because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple’s “wedding.” The Klein’s stated that their religious beliefs prohibited them from participating in a same sex “marriage.” Disregarding this argument, the Commissioner found that the Kleins had violated the lesbians’ civil rights and imposed the $144,000 fine. The Klein’s have appealed the Commissioner’s decision, but in the meantime had to pay the fine in order to avoid any further penalties.

    There can be little doubt that this is just the first in a long line of penalties and persecutions awaiting any business, group, or individual who has the courage to stand up to the homosexual lobby.

    Persecution of Christians Continues

    Throughout the end of 2015 and into the New Year, the news for Catholics living in areas controlled by Islamic governments has been grim.

    The parishioners of the Catholic parish in Garissa, Kenya must pass through several security officials with hand held metal detectors before being able to enter the church to assist at Holy Mass. These security precautions were put in place by government officials in the wake of the killing of nearly 150 Christians by Muslims last April. At least in Kenya, which is 80% Christian, the government has made efforts to offer security against the growing threat of violence aimed at the followers of Our Lord. The April attack was not the first of its kind, though it was the most deadly. In 2012, parishioners entering the Church were attacked by grenade-throwing Muslims intent upon killing as many people as possible. Fortunately the attack did not result in any deaths and relatively few injuries.

    As Catholics throughout the world prepared to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord, word came that the countries of Somalia and Brunei, both of which are overwhelmingly Muslim, had banned the public celebration of Christmas. Brunei, a small sultanate in Southeast Asia, which is ruled by Sharia law, has imposed a fine of $20,000, up to five years in prison, or both for anyone who is caught publicly celebrating Christmas. Brunei’s sultan outlawed Christmas on the grounds that celebrating it “excessively and openly” could lead his Muslim population astray. Somalia has also banned the celebration of the Nativity for the same reason—that public displays of the Christian faith could harm the faith and sensibilities of the Muslim population.

    Although the continued silence by western governments regarding this ongoing persecution is troubling, what is even more disturbing is the silence of Rome. It would almost appear that there is a fear, on the part of the Vatican, that raising any sort of public outcry would damage the ecumenical effort of Pope Francis to reach out to Muslims.