Theologian: Shared communion with Protestants would be blasphemy and sacrilege

If the Church were to change its rules on shared Eucharistic Communion it would “go against Revelation and the Magisterium”, leading Christians to “commit blasphemy and sacrilege,” an Italian theologian has warned.

Drawing on the Church’s teaching based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, Msgr. Nicola Bux, a former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stressed that non-Catholic Christians must have undertaken baptism and confirmation in the Catholic Church, and repented of grave sin through sacramental confession, in order to be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

The concerns have arisen primarily due to the Holy Father’s own comments suggesting openness on intercommunion between Catholics and Lutherans, his apparent support for some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion, and how others have used his frequently repeated maxim about the Eucharist: that it is “not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

In a December 10 interview with Avvenire, Cardinal Walter Kasper said he hopes Pope Francis’ next declaration will open the way for intercommunion with other denominations “in special cases.”

The German theologian said shared Eucharistic communion is just a matter of time, and that the Pope’s recent participation in the Reformation commemoration in Lund has given “a new thrust” to the “ecumenical process.”

Msgr. Bux emphasized that divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist, since they are living in an objective state of adultery and therefore mortal sin.

He cited St. Thomas Aquinas, who wrote: “Whoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, is guilty of lying to this sacrament, and consequently of sacrilege, because he profanes the sacrament: and therefore he sins mortally.”

He also emphasized that St. Thomas Aquinas specifically condemned shared Eucharistic communion with non-Catholics.  St. Thomas wrote:

Through reading the Gospel of John chapter 6, or especially the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 11, one understands that this [communion for non-Catholics] is contrary to Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, because, to receive Communion one must have undertaken Christian initiation (baptism and confirmation). Also, if the person had fallen into grave sin, he has to have made the penitential journey, especially sacramental confession.

The initiation and the penitential journey really show that the one who wants to communicate must first have entered into the communion of the faith of the Church; or if they had moved away because of a serious sin or schism or heresy, must re-enter by penance.

Msgr. Bux warned of the dangers of changing this rule that prohibits intercommunion between Catholics and non-Catholics:

If the Holy See absurdly changed the rule, that is if it were able to bring it about without having Christian initiation (baptism and confirmation) or, without having made sacramental confession, it would go against Revelation and the Magisterium of the one Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church, prompting the faithful to commit blasphemy and sacrilege. ∎

Pope Francis reinstates disgraced Order of Malta official who distributed condoms

Pope Francis re-instated a disgraced former ranking official of the Order of Malta who was sacked after an investigation revealed he distributed condoms, contrary to Church teaching.

Albrecht von Boeslager, the German former Grand Chancellor, was fired and suspended from the Order by Matthew Festing, head of the Order of Malta, with the blessing of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Patron of the Order of Malta.

Documents uncovered by the Lepanto Institute show that von Boeselager oversaw the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives while he was Grand Hospitaller, the person in charge of the charitable work of the Order, through its international charity Malteser International. Likewise, documents from the World Health Organization, Three Disease Fund, Save the Children, and UNAIDS all show that Malteser was responsible for distributing and promoting contraception. The distribution and promotion of contraception were part of Malteser’s role as a grantee and partner of these organizations, the documents indicate.

Pope Francis Asks Head of the Order of Malta to Resign

Christopher Lamb, writing for the Catholic weekly newspaper The Tablet, reported on 5 January that Pope Francis has explicitly requested from Festing to retain von Boeselager as its Grand Chancellor.  Lamb then quotes a letter sent to Matthew Festing, written by Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in which he explains that Pope Francis does not wish the dismissal of von Boeselager to take place.

“I wish first of all to reiterate that these measures [the sacking and suspension of Boeselager] must not be attributed to the will of the Pope or his directives,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Festing on 21 December. “As I expressed to you in my letter of 12 December 2016: ‘as far as the use and diffusion of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away!’”

Festing has refused to comply to the request of the Pope to re-instate Boeslager, insisting that as a sovereign entity, the Order had sole jurisdiction over this “internal matter”.

The Pope then formed a Vatican commission to “investigate” the Order of Malta following the issue. On January 25, Festing formally submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, after the Pope asked him to resign amid the controversy.

Festing is known for his orthodox and unwavering devotion to the Faith. After the resignation of Festing, Von Boesleger was re-instated by Pope Francis, despite his involvement in distribution of condoms.

The Holy See Essentially Annexed Another Sovereign Entity

Critics are saying that the resignation of Festing, and the intervention of Pope Francis, essentially ended 900 years of legal sovereignty of the Order of Malta. Canon lawyer Dr. Edward Condon said regarding the unprecedented papal intervention: “In terms of international law, the Holy See just annexed another sovereign entity.” Catholic University of America canon law professor Kurt Martens said that this was a “serious violation of international law”, and that the United Nations should “intervene”.

The eleventh-century Knights are Catholicism’s oldest military Order, running charitable initiatives across the globe – they are also treated as a sovereign entity with diplomatic relations with countries across the world. Festing, formerly known by the title of “His Most Eminent Highness”, is a quasi-head of state and treated as an honorary cardinal.

Pope reinstates priest guilty of sex abuse

While the Pope has been brutal in his crackdown on the more “conservative” elements of the Church, he is known to refuse stricter chastening methods when it is about those who promote a laxer or more liberalizing moral agenda.

Pope Francis and his cardinal allies have been known to interfere with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s (CDF) judgments on abuse cases. Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname “Don Mercedes.” He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached the CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

In 2014, however, Pope Francis re-instated Fr. Mauro Inzoli, despite being judged guilty of sexual abuse, called him back into the active priesthood where he remains, and invited him to “a life of humility and prayer.”

Last summer of 2016, however, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities. Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired.∎

by Jonas Malthusia, Veritas

Pope Francis: everyone goes to heaven

Last November 6, 2016, in a midday address after the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis suggested that everyone goes to heaven.

He said: “The ‘children of heaven and resurrection’ are not a privileged few, but they are all men and all women, because the salvation brought by Jesus is for everyone.”

The Catholic Church teaches that one must live the Commandments and die in the state of grace to go to Heaven. Hell exists for those who die in unrepented mortal sin.

This is not the first time that Pope Francis has seemingly contradicted the Catholic teaching on hell.

In an interview published in the La Stampa on December 31, 2013, he said: “Never fear the final judgment, because Christ will always be at our side.”

Likewise, in Amoris Laetitia (297), Pope Francis wrote: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” ∎

Cardinal Brandmuller: Anyone who opens Communion to adulterers ‘is a heretic and promotes schism’

In an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel last December 23, 2016, one of the four Cardinals who raised the dubia has said, “Whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism.”

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller made the remark while speaking with Spiegel reporter Walter Mayr about the dubia – the as yet unanswered questions asked openly and officially by four Cardinals seeking to have the Pope clarify potentially heretical interpretations of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

In a separate interview released also in December 2016 by Vatican Radio, close papal confidant Cardinal Walter Kasper says the Pope has been clear in Amoris Laetitia and that the Pope confirmed his take in his statements approving the approach of the Argentine bishops. The letter to the Argentine bishops to which Cardinal Kasper refers has Pope Francis saying that it is authentic to interpret Amoris Laetitia in a way which permits Holy Communion in limited cases to divorced and remarried couples with no possibility of annulment.

In Catholic terms, that means communion for those living in adultery as per the words of Christ Himself: (Lk 16:18) “Every man that divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery: and he that marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

Taken together the statements demonstrate the stark difference between the approaches of various Cardinals to the dubia. While for some the openness to changing the Church on the matter means outright heresy, for others it is a necessary and Holy Spirit-driven evolution of the Church’s teaching or at least pastoral practice.

Cardinal Brandmuller told Der Spiegel that clergy have no right to alter Christ’s own teachings. “We are, according to the Apostle St. Paul, administrators of the mysteries of God, but not holders of the right of disposal,” he said.

The stark difference between the top leaders of the Catholic Church has apparently not been lost on the Pope. Der Spiegel’s Mayr reports on a rumoured saying of Pope Francis to a “very small circle” in which he said, “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”∎

by John-Henry Westen, Lifesite News

Thirty cardinals raised concerns about Amoris Laetitia draft

The Pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia has caused widespread concern among cardinals and bishops, according to new reports.

Edward Pentin, veteran Vatican reporter for the National Catholic Register, reports:

Before the document was published, 30 cardinals, having seen an advance draft of the apostolic exhortation, wrote to the Pope expressing their reservations, especially on the issue of Communion for remarried divorcees, warning that the document would weaken the three essential sacraments of the Church: the Eucharist, marriage and confession.

Pentin also said that a “significant number” of bishops’ conferences have expressed concerns about the document. Furthermore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), having seen a draft, submitted several pages of revisions. These were not accepted, according to Pentin. The Pope has also not replied to either the 30 cardinals or the bishops’ conferences.

The most significant public response to Amoris Laetitia so far has been the five dubia (doubts/questions), issued by four cardinals, asking for clarification. One of the four, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has recently said they might issue a formal correction of the Pope if he does not reply.

The exhortation continues to be a hotbed of controversy since its publication in April. It has been criticized for its ambiguity on the issues of the indissolubility of marriage and whether couples in adulterous relationships can receive Holy Communion.

The four cardinals stated when they went public with their “dubia”, after the Pope failed to give them a response, that Amoris Laetitia “implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life,” and thus their questions touch “on fundamental issues of the Christian life.”

The five yes-or-no questions they ask of the Pope are: 1) whether adulterers can receive Holy Communion; 2) whether there are absolute moral norms that must be followed “without exceptions;” 3) if habitual adultery is an “objective situation of grave habitual sin;” 4) whether an intrinsically evil act can be turned into a “subjectively good” act based on “circumstances or intentions;” and 5) if, based on “conscience,” one can act contrary to known “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts.”∎

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.

The interview was Muller’s first – and so far only – public response to the issue of the four Cardinal’s Dubia addressed to the Pope. Muller said that his Congregation cannot answer the four Cardinals’ Dubia without the express authority of the Pope.

Cardinal Müller stated in the interview that 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.

Pope Francis: God was “unjust with His Son, He sent Him to the Cross”

Last December 14, in an audience in the Paul VI hall with patients and staff of Rome’s Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Pope Francis suggested that God “was unjust with his son”, because “he sent him to the cross.”

The controversial comments were an answer to a question put to him by Valentina Vanzi, a nurse in multi-speciality paediatrics, who asked why children suffer. The Pope replied:

I have no answer to this question. Nor has Jesus given an answer to these words. There is no answer to this question, all we can do is look at the crucifix and let it give us the answer”. The Pope added: “is God unjust? He was unjust with his son, he sent him to the cross, if we follow this logic then we have to say this. But it is our human existence, our flesh, that suffers in that child and when one suffers, people do not speak, they weep and pray in silence.

The commentary of the Pope contradicts with the Church’s understanding of Jesus’ self-giving act on the Cross.  God is not “unjust” for sending His Son to the Cross – to the contrary, the Church teaches that one of the attributes of God is that He is Just.

Likewise, the Church teaches that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life out of love for us – His dying on the cross was not a result of an unjust decision by the Father, but rather an expression of His love for us.   Our Blessed Lord said that as the Good Shepherd, he voluntarily lays down his life for the sheep. No one takes His life from Him, He lays it down for His sheep of His own accord.  John 10: 14-18:

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

Finally, we also recall here St. Paul in Philippians chapter 2: 5-11:

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Why is the Pope saying things that seemingly contradict established Church teachings?  It will be helpful to study at this point numerous prophecies made by saints and reputable modern-day prophets who have foretold of a time (right before the Second Coming of Christ) where there will be a great Apostasy, or loss of Faith, in the Church, brought about by the “False Prophet” of the Book of Revelation.  Below are some useful links to read in this regard: