Vatican doctrine chief: Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that refutes previous teachings of popes

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, said that Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that contradicts magisterial teachings of previous popes and councils.

In his December 1, 2016 interview with the domradio.de, the radio station of the Diocese of Cologne, Germany, the Vatican’s doctrine chief said:

The binding declarations of the popes, of the Councils of Trent and of the Second Vatican Council and of the Congregation for the Faith on the essential characteristics of marriage and on the precondition for a fruitful reception of the Sacraments in the state of justifying [i.e., sanctifying] grace may not be pushed aside by anyone under the pretext that marriage is, after all, merely an ideal which only can be reached by a very small number of people.

Regarding Communion for “remarried” divorced Catholics, Muller cites a 1994 letter by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which denied the possibility for bishops to permit Communion for the couples in question. The letter  by Cardinal Ratzinger was a response to a 1993 Pastoral Letter of three progressive German bishops (one of them being the then-Bishop Walter Kasper) who were then already pushing for Communion for the “divorced and remarried.”

The indissolubility of marriage must be “the unshaken foundation of teaching and of every pastoral accompaniment,” Müller emphasizes.

Cardinal Müller likewise said:

The Holy Father, at the same time, wishes to help all people whose marriages and families are in a crisis to find a path in accordance with the ever-merciful will of God. We can always assume that the just and merciful God always wants our salvation in whatever need we find ourselves. But it does not stand in the power of the Magisterium to correct God’s Revelation or to make the imitation of Christ comfortable.

As a follow-up question, the interviewer asked Muller: “Would the bishops’ conferences thus then be asked to help? Francis himself, after all, writes in Amoris Laetitia that not all questions need to be clarified in Rome….”

When answering this pertinent question, the German Cardinal first explains that bishops’ conferences “are merely working groups with certain competences” and, thus, are not of “Divine Law.” He continues:

Only in fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles, to the whole of the revealed Faith, can the bishops of a conference speak, for example, about the pastoral application of Amoris Laetitia. Otherwise, the Church would disintegrate into national churches and, in the end, would atomize. The Sacrament of Marriage, however, is in Korea just as valid as it is in Germany.

When asked whether the individual bishop may make his own independent decision as a response to Amoris Laetitia, Muller responded that  “Nor can the individual bishops do whatever they want according to their own private taste. They are servants, not masters of the Faith.”

Muller emphasized that marriage is not an “ideal” to which we aspire to, but rather a Sacrament founded by God Himself:

Marriage is in truth not a wishful image produced by ourselves, but, rather, a Sacrament, that is to say a reality founded by God Himself. It is an expression of the Mercy of the Creator and of the Redeemer. God does not put excessive demands upon us so that he then can show His Mercy toward us in the face of our own failure. With the help of Grace, we are able to fulfill the Commandments – among them the Sixth Commandment – and thus find peace of heart in a life in accordance with God’s will. ∎

by Paul Michaels, Veritas

Revisiting the Story of Medjugorje

medjugorje pilgrims

More than 40 million pilgrims have visited Medjugorje in the last three decades – despite a previous lack of official Vatican recognition. Photo above shows a procession in Medjugorje led by several priests.

On June 24, 1981, in a small town in Bosnia-Hercegovina called Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary started appearing to six young children. Since the apparitions began, an estimated 40 million people from all over the world have visited Medjugorje. Thousands of healings and deep conversions have been reported. Even today, more than 36 years after the apparitions began, some of the seers still receive daily messages from Our Lady. Our Lady has mentioned that the apparitions in Medjugorje will be her last apparition on earth. Similar to other apparitions of Our Lady like Fatima, the apparitions in Medjugorje predict future important, world-changing events – a series of ten secrets entrusted to the seers that will be revealed very soon to mankind.

Why Did Our Lady Appear in Medjugorje?

On the third day of the apparitions of Our Lady, Ivanka, one of the visionaries, asked Our Lady why she came. She responded: “I have come because there are many true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and to reconcile the whole world…”

Mirjana asked the Lady who she was, and the Lady responded, “I am the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The children requested from the Lady a sign to prove the apparition to those who didn’t see her. She responded: “Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe.”

After the apparition had ended, the six children began going down the hill. Marija, who was more fleet-footed, went ahead of everyone else. On her way down, suddenly she felt a mysterious force push her off to the side of the trail. Our Lady then appeared to her alone, with a bare wooden cross behind her. The Lady was very sad, and speaking through tears, said: “Peace, Peace, Peace! Be reconciled! Only Peace. Make your peace with God and among yourselves. For that, it is necessary to believe, to pray, to fast, and to go to confession.”

And thus, on the third day, the purpose of the apparitions were made clear. Our Lady had come to convert and reconcile the whole world to God.

The Ten Secrets

Our Lady has revealed ten secrets to the children – secrets foretelling future events that will occur very soon.

One of the secrets involves a “visible sign” that will be given to mankind that will appear on the site of the apparitions in Medjugorje for all the people to see. The sign will be given as a testimony, confirming the apparitions and in order to call people back to faith.

Before this visible sign is given to mankind, there will be three warnings to the world. The warnings will be in the form of events on earth. Mirjana will be a witness to them. Ten days before one of the admonitions, Mirjana will notify a priest of her choice (Fr. Petar Ljubicic), who will then fast for seven days and announce the secret to the world.

The ninth and tenth secrets are serious. They concern chastisement for the sins of the world. Punishment is inevitable, for we cannot expect the whole world to be converted. The punishment can be diminished by prayer and penance, but it cannot be eliminated. Mirjana says that one of the evils that threatened the world, the one contained in the seventh secret, has been averted thanks to prayer and fasting. That is why the Blessed Virgin continues to encourage prayer and fasting.

The Church’s Final Period of Trial

Mirjana has related an apparition she had in 1982 which sheds light on current events happening in the Church. She spoke of an apparition in which Satan appeared to her, asking her to renounce the Madonna and follow him. Mirjana rejected him, and immediately the Virgin gave her the following message, in substance:

Excuse me for this, but you must realize that Satan exists. One day he appeared before the throne of God and asked permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century. This century is under the power of the devil, but when the secrets confided to you come to pass, his power will be destroyed. Even now he is beginning to lose his power and has become aggressive. He is destroying marriages, creating division among priests and is responsible for obsessions and murder. You must protect yourselves against these things through fasting and prayer, especially community prayer. Carry blessed objects with you. Put them in your house, and restore the use of holy water.

How to Prepare for the Forthcoming Events

In a July 30, 1987 message, Our Lady said: “Dear children, this is the reason for my presence among you for such a long time: to lead you on the path of Jesus. I want to save you and, through you, to save the whole world. Many people now live without faith; some don’t even want to hear about Jesus, but they still want peace and satisfaction! Children, here is the reason why I need your prayer: prayer is the only way to save the human race.”

When the visionaries were asked of the secrets: “What should we do? How should we prepare? Should we be afraid?” – they gave the following answers.

Mirjana: “Our Lady’s messages here, prepare us for what is to come. She calls us to conversion now which means complete surrender to God. If we do that, we are not afraid, not even of death.”

Ivanka: “Nothing should frighten us except disobeying God’s Will.”

Vicka: “People should not be afraid if they are prepared. If we are afraid of these kinds of things, we don’t have confidence in God. Fear of this kind does not come from God. It can only come from Satan who wants to disturb us, so that we close ourselves to God and are not able to pray. With God, you can only have confidence – and strength to go through any troubles. The best preparation is to pray every day, go to Mass, and read the Bible. With prayer and penance the chastisements can be lessened. I can only say: prepare. For all eternity, you will thank God if you do.”

Marija: “This is a time of great grace and mercy. Now is the time to listen to these messages and to change our lives. Those who do will never be able to thank God enough.” ∎

 

Vatican reportedly working on “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” for joint worship with Protestants

pope francis with lutheran leader

Pope Francis meets with Rev. Jens-Martin Kruse at Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Nov. 15 2016

Italian journalist and Vatican expert Marco Tosatti has reported that Pope Francis has formed a top-secret commission tasked with implementing a new kind of “mass” that is acceptable to Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans.

The commission consists of representatives from all three denominations, all bound to secrecy.

The journalist, who is well known in Italy for his accurate reporting of all things happening in the Vatican, has said that while this news is merely a “rumor” at this point, his “sources are usually good.”

According to his sources, the commission is finding little difficulty in finding common ground in the “liturgy of the word”.  Tosatti reports: “After the confession of sins, asking for forgiveness, and reciting the Gloria, there would be the readings and the Gospel.”

He also said that the commission is allegedly studying the problem of the Creed. Protestant churches prefer to pray the Apostles’ Creed, although they do recognize the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church alternates between them. So not even this point should be a major problem.

The presentation of the gifts likewise does not present a major  obstacle to the project.

According to Tosatti, the central issue lies in the Eucharist, since the  Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly different from that of the Lutherans or of other Protestant denominations. Catholics believe in Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, while Protestants believe that it is merely a memorial.

Tosatti reports that a possible “solution” being proposed is that the words of Consecration be replaced by silence:

But how can a common liturgy be celebrated that clearly differs in the wording right at the most important point of the event?

One of the proposed possible solutions would be silence. It would mean that after the Sanctus, at the moment in which normally during the Mass the priest would say the words: “Father, you are holy indeed…” the different celebrants would keep silent, everyone mentally repeating “his own” formula.

The silence is broken in the congregation with the recitation of the Our Father. It is still not clear how the lines for Communion would be formed.

In light of this well-founded rumor, we should take heed of the remarks of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, a close collaborator of Pope Francis and currently the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The Vatican cardinal has suggested that we stop thinking of sacraments so rigidly as only either valid or invalid. For the sake of ecumenism, he opined that we should start looking into sacraments perhaps having “imperfect” or “partial” validity. Below are his exact words, as published in his exclusive interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register:

We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion [between Catholics and Protestants] even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection. ∎

by John Supplers, Veritas Vincit

Pope Francis doubts Medjugorje: “These alleged apparitions have no great value”

medjugorje-apparition-hill-pilgrimage1Despite the Vatican commission’s formal recognition of the Medjugorje apparitions as authentic, Pope Francis expressed his doubts on the apparitions, declaring them to be of “no great value”.

Speaking to journalists on May 13, Pope Francis said that, regarding Medjugorje, his “personal opinion” is that “these alleged apparitions have no great value.”

He also expressed his doubts on the thousands of subsequent apparitions that have continued to take place until the present day.  He said: “I prefer Our Lady to be a mother, our mother, and not a telegraph operator who sends out a message every day at a certain time — this is not the mother of Jesus.”

The Pope’s opinion that the Medjugorje apparitions “have no great value” runs counter to thousands of testimonies from pilgrims who have reported healings, miracles, and conversions when visiting the Medjugorje shrine. This is likewise in stark contrast to Pope John Paul II, who loved Medjugorje, and who said: “Medjugorje is the spiritual heart of the world”.

Pope John Paul II: “Medjugorje is the spiritual heart of the world”

Pope John Paul II once powerfully observed, “Today’s world has lost its sense of the supernatural, but many are searching for it –and find it in Medjugorje, through prayer, penance, and fasting.” The late pontiff and future saint  spoke these words on August 1, 1989, while addressing a group of Italian physicians studying the apparitions in Medjugorje with medical and scientific investigations.

It is no secret within Rome that John Paul II absolutely loved Medjugorje, once even acquiring the nickname “Protector of Medjugorje” within the Vatican.  While it is known that the late Polish pope never personally visited Medjugorje, what is less known is that throughout the last two decades of his life Pope John Paul II held personal meetings and correspondence with Medjugorje visionaries, Medjugorje priests, even Medjugorje inner locutionaries, and numerous pro-Medjugorje bishops.

Mons. Maurillo Kreiger, former bishop of Florianopolis (Brazil), visited Medjugorje four times. His first visit was in 1986. He writes as follows:”In 1988, I was with eight other bishops and thirty three priests on spiritual retreat in the Vatican. The Holy Father knew that many of us were going to Medjugorje afterwards. After a private mass with the Pope, before leaving Rome, he said, without having been asked anything, “Pray for me in Medjugorje”. On another occasion, I told the Pope “I am going to Medjugorje for the fourth time”. He concentrated his thoughts and said, “Medjugorje, Medjugorje, it`s the spiritual heart of the world”.∎

by Mark Jeffreys, Veritas

The End Times as Revealed to Fr. Stefano Gobbi

In a series of messages given by the Blessed Virgin Mary as interior locutions to Fr. Stefano Gobbi (seen in photo above with St. Pope John Paul II), Our Lady has unequivocally said that the Second Coming of Jesus will happen very soon, in fact in the present generation. The messages, which carry the imprimatur from several cardinals and bishops, are compiled in the book “To the Priests: Our Lady’s Beloved Sons” .  The messages have spawned a worldwide movement – the Marian Movement of Priests and Laity – which have hundreds of priests and bishops as members, as well as millions of lay faithful.  Below is an excerpt of a message on the End Times given by Our Lady on December 31, 1992:

***

I have announced to you many times that the end of the times and the coming of Jesus in glory is very near.  Now, I want to help you understand the signs described in the Holy Scriptures, which indicate that His glorious return is now close.

These signs are clearly indicated in the Gospels, in the letters of  Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and they are becoming  a reality during these years.

The first sign is the spread of errors, which lead to the loss of faith and to apostasy.

These errors are being propagated by false teachers, by renowned theologians who are no longer teaching the truths of the Gospel, but pernicious heresies based on errors and on human reasoning.  It is because of the teaching of these errors that the true faith is being lost and the great apostasy is spreading everywhere.

“See that no one deceives you.  For many will attempt to deceive many people.  False prophets will come and will deceive very many.” (Mt 24:4-5)

“The day of the Lord will not come unless the great apostasy comes first.” (2 Thes. 2,3)

Pope to U.N. Assembly: I come “in my own name”

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.23.26 PMIn his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2015 in New York, Pope Francis chose not to mention the name of Jesus Christ.  Rather, he addressed the assembled nations “in his own name”.

Below is the opening statement of the speech of the Pope:

Following a tradition by which I feel honored, the Secretary General of the United Nations has invited the Pope to address this distinguished assembly of nations.  In my own name, and that of the entire Catholic community, I wish to express to you, Mr Ban Ki-moon, my heartfelt gratitude.

The name of Jesus was never mentioned during the entire speech.  In his subsequent addresses to the U.S. Congress, as well as in the White House, the name of Jesus still was not mentioned. Following the speech, many Catholic commentators pointed out that the Pope speaks in the name of Jesus, and should therefore explicitly invoke his name in order to direct national and world leaders to the light of Christ and His teaching.

Many argued in response that the U.N. function, as well as the White House and U.S. Congress speeches, were diplomatic functions, justifying that it may not be appropriate to mention the Lord’s name. It will be helpful to recall Scripture and the experience of Peter and the Apostles in the face of government and religious authorities’ prohibition of using the name of Jesus: “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name.” [Acts 5:28] St. Peter and the apostles did not obey the restriction, obviously.   Shouldn’t the present successor of St. Peter likewise do the same and follow his example?

John Paul II Made Reference to Jesus Six Times in His U.N. Address

When St. Pope John Paul II addressed the U.N. General Assembly on October 5, 1995 in New York, he explicitly mentioned Jesus six times.

Here is what John Paul II said to the U.N. Assembly:

As a Christian, my hope and trust are centered on Jesus Christ, the two thousandth anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated at the coming of the new millennium.  We Christians believe that in his Death and Resurrection were fully revealed God’s love and His care for all creation. Jesus Christ is for us God made man, and made a part of the history of humanity. Precisely for this reason, Christian hope for the world and its future extends to every human person. Because of the radiant humanity of Christ, nothing genuinely human fails to touch the hearts of Christians. Faith in Christ does not impel us to intolerance. On the contrary, it obliges us to engage others in a respectful dialogue. Love of Christ does not distract us from interest in others, but rather invites us to responsibility for them, to the exclusion of no one and indeed, if anything, with a special concern for the weakest and the suffering. Thus, as we approach the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Church asks only to be able to propose respectfully this message of salvation, and to be able to promote, in charity and service, the solidarity of the entire human family.

Benedict XVI’s Address to the U.N.

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly on April 18, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI referred the United Nations to the “saving work of Jesus Christ”:

In my recent Encyclical, Spe Salvi, I indicated that “every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs” (no. 25). For Christians, this task is motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ.

Seven Speeches, No Mention of Jesus

Pope Francis has a history of choosing to omit the name of Jesus in various speeches.  In November 2014 he also omitted the Name of Jesus from his speech to the European Parliament. In July, 2014 when giving his “Top Ten List” about “how to be happier”, Pope Francis proposed many ideas, including “live and let live“, “stop being negative“, “respect nature”, but without mentioning Jesus Christ as the true source of joy in human life.

The website www.wildvoice.org analyzed seven major speeches of the Pope during trips to the United States and Cuba. The speeches were the following: Speech to Cuban Youth, September 20, 2015; In-flight Press Conference, September 22, 2015; Speech on White House Lawn, September 23, 2015; Address to United States Congress, September 24, 2015; Address to United Nations, September 25, 2015; Speech at “Ground Zero” at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, September 25, 2015; Address to World Meeting of Families, September 26, 2015. The analysis revealed that the 7 speeches had roughly 13,000 words, but zero mention of Jesus.  Below are some of the top words used in the speeches:

“I” –  198 times

“human” –  42 times

“society/social” –  42 times

“dream(s)/dreaming” –  36 times

“Me” –  28 times

“environment” –  18 times

“future” –  21 times

“brother” –  13 times

“economic” –  11 times

“fraternity/fraternal” –  7 times