Mixed Signals on Life and Family Issues

In the past three years, Pope Francis has met with, as well as praised, numerous pro-abortion politicians and leaders, as well as couples in irregular unions, much to the concern of Catholic pro-life leaders.


In June 2013, the pope received Uruguay’s President José Mujica at the Vatican Library for a record 45-minute private audience. Mujica legalized abortion, homosexual unions and decriminalized marijuana. According to Vatican spokesman Lombardi, Francis affirmed that he was “very pleased for having met with a wise man.”  Uruguay’s president said speaking with Francis was “like talking to a neighbourhood friend.”

More recently, in early 2016,  Pope Francis sent a rosary to an indigenous leader from Argentina named Milagro Sala, detained “on charges of fraud, extortion and illicit association”. The Pope’s gesture seemed to support the campaign of the pro-abortion Argentinian group “Católicas por el derecho a decidir [Catholic women for the right to decide]”, who took up the defense of Sala.

Sala is an abortionist and defender of gender ideology.  Sala does not declare herself to be Catholic as Christ taught, but rather “in my own way”, she wrote on Facebook, from prison. She added that she “believes in the traditions of our grandparents. We always performed ceremonies…we invite the chamanes [witch doctors] …in the Temple of Kasasaya, in Tiwanaku, which we constructed in the neighborhood.” Sala doesn’t stop there: “When visiting Pope Francis for the first time, I told him that I was sick of the Church…for all the evil that the Church has done…ever since the conquest…constructing temples over our sacred temples, as in Cuzco.”

The organization founded by Sala, called “Tupac Amaru”, organizes, among other activities, the “Woman’s van”. Besides offering reproductive “counseling”, it also installs abortive devices free of charge among the underprivileged population.

Sala’s organization likewise defends “Sexual diversity”. Consequently, it organized a “National Encounter of Lesbian, Gay, Transvestites, Transsexual, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex and Queer” in the neighborhood, promoting parades, simply impossible for a Catholic priest to describe. Along with this show of impudence, Sala declared: “we are very happy”, with the 20 vehicles carrying people demonstrating their immorality, adding that “there is nothing and no one that can make us bow our heads.”

More recently, at his February 15 Meeting with Families in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in southern Mexico, the Pope made heads turn when he met with and praised the divorced and remarried couple of Humberto Gómez Espinoza and Claudia Castellón Leal. The two were never married in Church, but have been married civilly for 16 years.

Gómez Espinoza explained that while he had never been married, his wife had married in the Church and had several children by her previous marriage. “Our relationship has been one of love and understanding, but we were alienated from the Church,” he told the pope. Recognizing that as “divorced and remarried we can’t receive the Eucharist, but we can receive communion through our brothers in need, our sick brothers, those who are deprived of freedom, and for that reason we are volunteers.”

Gómez Espinoza claimed that “we are blessed because we have a marriage and a family where the center is God,” and Pope Francis seemed to agree. “You pray and you are with Jesus. You are so integrated into the life of the Church.” He approached the couple and gave them a long hug, as sentimental music played in the background.

It will be helpful to recall at this point the teachings of Jesus Christ himself on divorce and remarriage.  To those who tried to justify their second, third, or fourth union…the Master responded reminding them that “what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mk 10:9; cf Mt 5:31; 19:7; Lk 16:18), while explaining that “whoever divorces his wife causes her to commit adultery” (Mt 5:32) and “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery” (Mt 19:9).

There is no such thing as second or third “unions” for a man or woman. Jesus, Word of God made Man, qualified these second and third unions as “adultery”.

Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI Sees Resignation as Expanding Petrine Ministry

In a speech reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, Archbishop Georg Gänswein has confirmed the existence of a group who fought against Benedict’s election in 2005, but stressed that “Vatileaks” or other issues had “little or nothing” to do with his resignation in 2013.

Speaking at the presentation of a new book on Benedict’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome May 20, Archbishop Gänswein also said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.”

Archbishop Gänswein, who doubles as the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus and prefect of the Pontifical Household, said Benedict did not abandon the papacy like Pope Celestine V in the 13th century but rather sought to continue his Petrine Office in a more appropriate way given his frailty.

“Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before,” he said. “It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and lastingly transformed by his exceptional pontificate.”

Reflecting on Benedict’s time as Pope, Archbishop Gänswein said that although he was “a classic ‘homo historicus’, a Western man par excellence who embodied the richness of the Catholic tradition like no other,” at the same time he was “so bold as to open the door to a new phase, for that historic turning point that five years ago no one could have imagined.”

Gänswein drew attention to “brilliant and illuminating” and “well documented and thorough” passages of the book, written by Roberto Regoli and entitled Oltre la crisi della Chiesa. Il pontificato di Benedetto XVI — “Beyond the Crisis of the Church, The Pontificate of Benedict XVI.”

The German prelate especially highlighted Regoli’s account of “a dramatic struggle” that took place in the 2005 Conclave between the “so-called ‘Salt of the Earth Party’” (named after the book interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) comprising “Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Ruoco Varela or Medina” and their adversaries: “the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor” — a group Cardinal Danneels referred jokingly to as “a kind of mafia-club,” Archbishop Gänswein recalled. (His reference to that struggle backs up an interview German journalist Paul Badde gave the Register last November and EWTN Germany, during which Badde also mentioned German Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann as being part of the St. Gallen group).

“The election was certainly the outcome of a battle,” Gänswein went on, adding that the “key” to the Conclave was Cardinal Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of relativism” homily that he gave on the first day of the election when he was Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Benedict’s personal secretary then referred to how Regoli highlights the “fascinating and moving” years of Benedict’s pontificate, and his “skill and confidence” in exercising the Petrine ministry. He recalled, in particular, the “black year” of 2010, when Manuela Camagni, one of the four Memores Domini consecrated women who assisted Benedict, was tragically killed in a road accident in Rome.

The year, which he attests was a dark one, was further blackened by “malicious attacks against the Pope” and the fallout from Benedict’s lifting of the excommunication on Bishop Richard Williamson who denied the extent of the Holocaust.

But nothing affected Benedict’s “heart as much as the death of Manuela”, whom he considered part of the “papal family” of helpers. “Benedict wasn’t an ‘actor pope’, and even less an insensitive ‘automaton Pope’,” Gänswein said. ”Even on the throne of Peter, he was and remained a man… ‘a man with his contradictions’.”

Then, after having been so affected by the death of Camagni, Benedict suffered the “betrayal of Paolo Gabriele”, his “poor and misguided” former valet who was found guilty of leaking confidential papal documents in what became known as the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal. That episode was “false money” traded on the world stage as “authentic gold bullion” he said, but stressed that “no traitor, ‘mole’, or any journalist” would have caused Benedict to resign. “The scandal was too small” for the “greater, well considered step Benedict made of millennial historical significance.”

Such assumptions that they did have something to do with it, he said, “have little or nothing to do with reality”, adding that Benedict resigned because it was “fitting” and “reasonable”, and quoted John Duns Scotus’ words to justify the decree for the Immaculate Conception: “Decuit, potuit, fecit” — “He could do it, it was fitting that He do it.”

Various reports have suggested that pressure was exerted on Benedict to step down. One of the latest came last year from a former confidant and confessor to the late Cardinal Carlo Martini who said Martini had told Benedict: “Try and reform the Curia, and if not, you leave.”

But in his speech, Gänswein insisted “it was fitting” for Benedict to resign because he “was aware that the necessary strength for such a very heavy office was lessening. He could do it [resign], because he had long thought through, from a theological point of view, the possibility of a pope emeritus in the future. So he did it.”

Drawing on the Latin words “munus petrinum” — “Petrine ministry” — Gänswein pointed out the word “munus” has many meanings such as “service, duty, guide or gift”. He said that “before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’.

“He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry,” Gänswein explained, something “quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.“

Instead, he said, “he has built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry, as if he had wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in the motto that the then-Joseph Ratzinger had as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis”, which means ‘co-workers of the truth’.”

Archbishop Gänswein pointed out that the motto is not in the singular but in the plural, and taken from the Third Letter of John, in which it is written in verse 8: “We must welcome these people to become co-workers for the truth”.

He therefore stressed that since Francis’ election, there are not “two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member.” He added that this is why Benedict XVI “has not given up his name”, unlike Pope Celestine V who reverted to his name Pietro da Marrone, “nor the white cassock.”

“Therefore he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — as if he had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.” With that step, he said, he has enriched the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.”

Archbishop Gänswein repeated that Benedict’s resignation was “quite different” to that of Pope Celestine V.

“So it is not surprising,” he said, “that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the gospel,  while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.”
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/archbishop-gaenswein-recalls-dramatic-struggle-of-2005-conclave/#ixzz49upkwq7s

Cardinal Muller: No Reason to Celebrate the Protestant Reformation

The Vatican’s chief doctrinal watchdog is saying Catholics have “no reason” to honor the Protestant Reformation.

In a wide-ranging, book-length interview recently published by the Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, a Madrid-based publishing house, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), speaks on a number of subjects — including the upcoming commemoration in Sweden of the 15th-century Protestant Reformation.

Pope Francis to Celebrate with Protestants

The matter is a timely one for Catholics, as Pope Francis will travel to Sweden in October to attend a joint ecumenical service kicking off the year recalling the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt. Others attending will include leaders from the Lutheran World Federation as well as representatives of various Christian communities. The meeting will take place October 31 in Lund, where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947.

Meant not only to commemorate the Reformation, the Pope’s presence will also highlight the advances in dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans over the past century.

“Strictly speaking,” Cardinal Müller said in his interview, “we Catholics have no reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered the beginning of the Reformation that would lead to the rupture of Western Christianity.”

He continued:

If we are convinced that divine revelation is preserved whole and unchanged through Scripture and Tradition, in the doctrine of the Faith, in the sacraments, in the hierarchical constitution of the Church by divine right, founded on the sacrament of holy orders, we cannot accept that there exist sufficient reasons to separate from the Church.

Protestant communities see things differently, he observed. “The Protestant reformers arrived at the conclusion, 500 years ago, that some Church hierarchs were not only morally corrupt, but had also distorted the Gospel and, as a result, had blocked the path of salvation for believers toward Jesus Christ.”

The head of the CDF criticized a distorted understanding of ecumenism, which blocks the path to true unity. “The relativization of the truth and the acritical adoption of modern ideologies are the principal obstacle toward union in the truth.”

He sees this approach being adopted by some in the Catholic Church today. “In this sense, a Protestantization of the Catholic Church on the basis of a secular vision without reference to transcendence not only cannot reconcile us with the Protestants, but also cannot allow an encounter with the mystery of Christ,” he insisted.

He acknowledged the validity of the Vatican II document “Unitatis Redintegratio,” but also noted it must be balanced against the CDF’s own 2000 document “Dominus Iesus,” which re-asserts the primacy of the Catholic Church as the one true Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, superior to all other religions. Müller called this document “the magna carta against the Christological and ecclesiological relativism of this time of such confusion.”

Cardinal Müller also touched on other topics, including Holy Communion for those in irregular unions, the twisting of Pope Francis’ words by some to push the gay agenda, women’s priesthood and clerical celibacy.

“Saint Paul insists on the fact that he who eats the bread and drinks the wine of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,” he commented, referring to the issue of who may receive Holy Communion. Catholics may only be restored to the state of grace through the sacrament of penance, he explained, and “access to Eucharistic communion certainly presupposes the life of grace.”

On those who would twist the Holy Father’s words for their agenda, His Eminence said:

Precisely those who until now have shown no respect for the doctrine of the Church are using an isolated phrase from the Holy Father, “Who am I to judge?” taken out of context, to present distorted ideas on sexual morality, reinforcing them with a presumed interpretation of the “authentic” thought of the pope in this regard.

He also made clear that female ordination to the priesthood is impossible, as “this is a matter that has already been decided.”

Finally, he defended clerical celibacy as “a special gift from God through which the sacred ministers can more easily unite themselves with Christ with an undivided heart.”

Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’

abort67-02_600In a February 8 interview with one of Italy’s most prominent dailies, Corriere Della Serra, Pope Francis praised Italy’s leading proponent of abortion – Emma Bonino — as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.

Bonino founded the “Information Centre on Sterilisation and Abortion”, which claims to conduct around 4,000 abortions a year. Bonino recorded herself as having personally committed 10,141 abortions.  She has also openly promoted euthanasia, homosexual “marriage,” legalization of recreational drugs, graphic sex education, and more.

The Pope admitted that Bonino thinks “differently” from Catholics, yet still proceeded with giving her high praise: “They say: ‘This is a person who thinks very differently from us [Catholics].’ True, but never mind. We have to look at people, at what they do.”

Bonino is quoted by Radio Radicale responding to Pope Francis’ nice compliment, saying, “These words are what have pleased me most in my entire life.”

“That is what I have tried to practice with my radical teammates my life, namely that you can speak even if you have different ideas. I do not think I need to say more, it would be disrespectful.”

A Life Dedicated to the Abortion Movement

Emma Bonino entered Italian politics as a radical feminist and leftist extremist in the ‘70s after she had already made her name synonymous with illegal abortion. She boasted in the press of having invented a hand-held vacuum aspirator out of a jam jar and a bicycle pump. She describes the machine as“a bicycle pump, a plastic dilator and a vase [jar] in which you create a vacuum, and it ends the contents of the uterus.”

She was arrested for the then-illegal activity, spending a few days in jail, but was eventually acquitted and entered politics, particularly Italy’s “Radical Party”, dedicating her life to the promotion and legalisation of abortion in Italy. She was instrumental in organising the referendum that led to the eventual legalisation of abortion in Italy.

Along with Marco Pannella, leader of the Radical Party, Bonino has fought numerous battles for civil rights and individual liberty, mainly concerned with divorce, the legalisation of abortion, the legalisation of drugs, and for sexual and religious freedoms.  Readers will note that this is the same Marco Pannella whom the pope reportedly telephoned in May 2015, telling the radical leftist to “carry on”. Pannella said later, “With Pope Francis we have a lot in common. We radicals have anticipated many of the things that Francis says and does.”

In fact, In April 2014, Bonino called Pope Francis to help end the hunger strike of Radical Party leader Marco Pannella. The Pope made the call and promised to join Pannella in his bid to better conditions in Italian prisons. It is also notable that Francis’ favourite interviewer, Eugenio Scalfari, is also a Radical Party founder and luminary.

Pro-Life Leaders in Shock

Responding to the Pope’s praise of Bonino, pro-life leaders in Italy expressed disbelief.  “How can the pope praise a woman that is best known in Italy for practicing illegal abortion and promoting abortion?” commented Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, who was until last year the head of the Rome office of Human Life International.

Toni Brandi, President of the pro-life group Pro-Vita, said: “As laymen it is our duty to criticize the person that is seated on Peter ‘s chair when our conscience tells us he is wrong, as the Pope is infallible only when he talks ex- cathedra. We must pray that the Holy Spirit brings Francis on the right road which is the Gospel and the Magisterium.”

Did the Pope have full knowledge of Bonino’s abortion cause?

Suggestions that the Pope did not know about Bonino’s controversial stances are dismissed by Italians since she was famously arrested for illegal abortions and then became a politician who has led the fight for the legalization of abortion in the nation. Pope Francis has also been personally acquainted with Bonino and the Radical Party leadership for years and been openly criticized for his warm relations with them, which have never involved open calls to repentance.

In her capacity as Italian foreign minister, Bonino, along with President Georgio Napolitano and his key ministers, was granted an audience with Pope Francis on June 8, 2013. In May 2015 the Vatican Insider reported that Pope Francis personally invited Bonino to an audience in the Paul VI Hall.

It will be helpful to remember what the U.S. Bishops taught in this regard, in their 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life”. The U.S. Bishops said that they must warn and counsel politicians that by supporting abortion they are cooperating in evil. Moreover, they said that persistently pro-abortion politicians should not be honored by the Catholic community and by Catholic institutions. The bishops’ document directed that such politicians “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

from LifeSite News

Cardinal Müller: Communion Remains Off-Limits for “Remarried”

mullerThe head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, considered second only to the pope as the Vatican’s authority on doctrinal matters, has responded to the question of whether Pope Francis’ recent exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, has opened the door to giving Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s response is unambiguous: the Church’s teaching cannot be changed, and the exhortation did not do so.

“It is not possible to live in God’s grace while living in a sinful situation,” he said, and continued by saying that people living in sin “cannot receive Holy Communion unless they have received absolution in the sacrament of penance.” Müller importantly added that the “Church has no power to change the Divine Law” and that “Not even a pope or council can change that.”

The cardinal gave his remarks during a recent trip to Spain. As reported by the German Newspaper Die Tagespost, and translated by Maike Hickson at 1Peter5, Cardinal Müller spoke directly to arguments interpreting Amoris Laetitia as saying, in the words of the newspaper, that “the door has been opened for the remarried to be admitted to the Sacraments in individual cases.”  The newspaper reports that the cardinal stated, “with decisiveness,” that this is not the case, and that statements by previous popes on the matter still stand.

“This applies clearly to the reception of Holy Communion by remarried divorcees,” said Müller. “What has been taught by John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio and by Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis is still valid in an unchanged way.”  He further emphasized: “The principle is that no one can really want to receive a Sacrament – the Eucharist – without having at the same time the will to live according to the other Sacraments, among them the Sacrament of Marriage.”

Arguments that Amoris Laetitia changed Church practice on Communion for the divorced and remarried are based largely on footnote 351, which comes in the context of a chapter devoted to the Church’s pastoral care for couples in “irregular” unions, and which states that this help can “in some cases include the help of the Sacraments” – with reference to Confession and the Eucharist.

At face value, this footnote was taken by many, including several German bishops, among them Cardinal Reinhard Marx, as marking a change from Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching in Familiaris Consortio. Cardinal Walter Kasper, while not making specific reference to the footnote, has also stated that it “seems clear” the exhortation allows Communion for the remarried divorcees.

In Familiaris Consortio Pope John Paul II had stated that couples in adulterous second unions can only receive the Eucharist if they separate, or, if they cannot separate for “serious reasons,” then they live together as “brother and sister” – i.e. without sexual relations.

However, Cardinal Müller clarified that this Magisterial teaching cannot change, and that, even if the pope intended to do so, the conditions for changing such a serious matter are not present in Amoris Laetitia.

If Amoris Laetitia intended to rescind such a deeply rooted and such a weighty discipline, it would have expressed itself in a clear manner and it would have given the reasons for it. However, such a statement with such a meaning is not to be found in [Amoris Laetitia]. Nowhere does the pope put into question the arguments of his predecessors. They are not based upon the subjective guilt of these our brothers and sisters, but, rather, upon the visible, objective way of life which is in opposition to the words of Christ.

Speaking directly to footnote 351, the cardinal stated that the footnote was not speaking specifically about situations of remarried divorcees.

“Without entering into this question in a deeper way, it is sufficient to point out that this footnote refers in a general way to objective situations of sin, and not to the specific cases of the civilly remarried divorcees,” he stated. “Because this latter situation has its own distinctive characteristics which differentiate it from other situations.”

The cardinal clarified once again that footnote 351 did not change the teachings promulgated by Pope John Paul II or by Cardinal Ratzinger, when the latter was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Footnote 351 does not “touch upon the earlier discipline,” said the cardinal. “The norms of FC 84 and SC 29 and their application in all cases continue to remain valid.”

by Maike Hickson,One Peter Five