The Church in the World

Catholic Politicians and Non-Admittance to Holy Communion. By Card. Burke

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

For the past several months, the intention of the Church in the United States of America has been very much in my prayers. At their coming November meeting, the Bishops of the United States will be considering the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”[1] Their deliberations will address, in particular, the long-term and gravely scandalous situation of Catholic politicians who persist in supporting and advancing programs, policies and laws in grievous violation of the most fundamental precepts of the moral law, while, at the same time, claiming to be devout Catholics, especially by presenting themselves to receive Holy Communion. In praying for the Bishops and my homeland, the United States of America, I have, more and more, thought about the experience of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops over 17 years ago, at their summer meeting in Denver in June of 2004, in addressing the same issue. It is an experience which I lived intensely.

I have thought it important to offer the following reflections as a help to us all in addressing now and in the future such a critical matter – a matter of life and death for the unborn and of eternal salvation for the Catholic politicians involved – in my homeland, as in other nations. I had wanted to offer these reflections much sooner, but recovery from recent health difficulties prevented the writing of these reflections until now.

The context of the June 2004 meeting of the United States Bishops was the campaign of Senator John Kerry for President of the United States. Senator Kerry claimed to be a Catholic, while, at the same time, supporting and promoting abortion on demand in the nation. At the time, I was Archbishop of Saint Louis (appointed on December 2, 2003, and installed on January 26, 2004). As had been my practice as Bishop of La Crosse (appointed on December 10, 1994, and installed on February 22, 1995), I admonished Senator Kerry not to present himself to receive Holy Communion because, after having been duly admonished, he persisted in the objectively grave sin of promoting directly procured abortion. I was not the only Bishop to admonish him thus.

From the time of my first episcopal ministry in the Diocese of La Crosse, I had confronted the situation of politicians presenting themselves as practicing Catholics and, at the same time, supporting and advancing programs, policies and laws in violation of the moral law. As a new and relatively young Bishop, I spoke with brother Bishops, especially one of the senior suffragans in my ecclesiastical province, about several Catholic lawmakers in the Diocese of La Crosse, who were in this situation. The common response of brother Bishops was the expectation that the Conference of Bishops would eventually address the question.

Knowing my moral obligation in a matter of such serious consequences, defined in can. 915, I began to contact the legislators from the Diocese of La Crosse, asking to meet with them to discuss the complete incoherence of their position regarding procured abortion with the Catholic faith they professed. Sadly, none of them was willing to meet with me. One carried out a certain correspondence with me, insisting that his position regarding abortion was consistent with the Catholic faith, following the erroneous counsel presented by certain dissident professors of moral theology, adherents of the heretical school of proportionalism, at a summit held at the Hyannisport compound of the Kennedy Family in the summer of 1964. Documentation of the meeting is found in a book of Albert R. Jonsen who accompanied one of the dissident European professors of moral theology and was present for the entire meeting.[2]

Regarding the refusal of the legislators to meet with me, I must observe that I find, at best, naïve the common refrain that what is needed is more dialogue with the Catholic politicians and legislators in question. In my experience, they are not willing to discuss the matter because the teaching of the natural law, which necessarily is also the teaching of the Church, is beyond discussion. In some cases, too, I have had the strong impression that they were unwilling to discuss the matter because they were simply unwilling to have their minds and hearts changed. The truth remains that procured abortion is the knowing and willing destruction of a human life.

When I was Archbishop of Saint Louis, one Catholic legislator agreed to meet with me, even though, as his parish priest also attested, he was not presenting himself to receive Holy Communion. He began the meeting by showing me a picture of his family. As I recall, his wife and he had four children. As our conversation progressed, I asked him how, having so proudly shown me the picture of his children, he could regularly vote in favor of killing babies in the womb. He immediately lowered his head and said: “It is wrong. I know that it is wrong.” While I urged him to act according to his conscience, which he had just expressed, I had to admire the fact that, at least, he admitted the evil in which he was involved and did not try to present himself to me as a devout Catholic. Regarding the objective reality of the practice of abortion as a most grievous violation of the first precept of the natural law, which safeguards the inviolability of innocent and defenseless human life, there is nothing about which to dialogue. The subject of dialogue must be how best to prevent such an evil in society. Such prevention can never involve the actual promotion of the evil.

With the announcement of my transfer from the Diocese of La Crosse to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis on December 2, 2003, the secular press traveled to the Diocese of La Crosse, in order to find material for the creation of a negative image of the new Archbishop before his arrival in the Archdiocese. Whereas, before my transfer, there was no public discussion of my pastoral interventions with the lawmakers in question, as is altogether appropriate, the matter now became public in December of 2003 and January of 2004. In putting the question of the application of can. 915 before the body of Bishops at its meeting in June of 2004, the pastoral action which I had taken in the Diocese of La Crosse and was beginning to take in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis was placed in serious question. To illustrate the fact, during a break in the meeting, I encountered, on a stairwell, one of the eminent members of the Conference of Bishops, who shook his finger at me, declaring: You cannot do what you have been doing without the approval of the Conference of Bishops. To be clear, other Bishops were following a similar pastoral action. I responded to his declaration by pointing out that, when I die, I will appear before the Lord to give an account of my service as Bishop, not before the Conference of Bishops.

Here, I must note that the pastoral action taken had nothing to do with interfering in politics. It was directed to the safeguarding of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, to the salvation of the souls of the Catholic politicians in question – who were sinning gravely not only against the Fifth Commandment but also were committing sacrilege by receiving unworthily Holy Communion – and to the prevention of the serious scandal caused by them. When I intervened pastorally with Catholic politicians, it was done in an appropriately confidential manner. Certainly, I gave no publicity to the matter. It was rather the politicians who found it helpful to present themselves as practicing Catholics, in the hope of attracting the votes of Catholics, who publicized the matter for a political end.

The discussion during the meeting in June of 2004 was difficult and intense. Without going into the details of the discussion, there seemingly was no consensus among the Bishops, even though there was among some of the most influential Bishops the desire to avoid any intervention with Catholic politicians who, according to the discipline of can. 915, should not be admitted to receive Holy Communion. Ultimately, the President, the then Bishop Wilton Gregory of the Diocese of Belleville, remanded the matter to a Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians under the chairmanship of the then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who was clearly opposed to the application of can. 915 in the case of Catholic politicians supporting procured abortion and other practices which gravely violate the moral law. The Task Force was comprised of a group of bishops with mixed views on the subject. In any case, with time, the Task Force was forgotten, and the critical issue was left unaddressed by the Conference of Bishops. When Bishop Gregory announced the Task Force, the Bishop sitting next to me observed that we could now be certain that the issue would not be addressed.

In the context of recalling the Denver meeting of the United States Conference of Bishops in June of 2004, it is important for me to recount two other related personal experiences.

First, in the Spring of 2004, while I was in Washington, D.C., for pro-life activities, I met privately for forty-five minutes with one of the highest-placed officials in the federal government, a non-Catholic Christian who manifested great respect for the Catholic Church. In the course of our conversation, he asked me whether, in view of the serious health difficulties of Pope Saint John Paul II, the election of a new Pope could mean a change in the Church’s teaching regarding procured abortion. I expressed some surprise at his question, explaining that the Church can never change its teaching on the intrinsic evil of procured abortion because it is a precept of the natural law, the law written by God on every human heart. He responded that he asked the question because he had concluded that the Church’s teaching in the matter could not be that firm, since he could name for me 80 or more Catholics in the Senate and House of Representatives, who regularly support pro-abortion legislation.

The conversation in question was an eloquent testimonial to the grave scandal caused by such Catholic politicians. They have, in fact, contributed in a significant way to the consolidation of a culture of death in the United States, in which procured abortion is simply a fact of daily life. The Catholic Church’s witness to the beauty and goodness of human life, from its first moment of existence, and the truth of its inviolability has been grievously compromised to the point that non-Catholics believe that the Church has changed or will change what is, in fact, an unchangeable teaching. While the Church, carrying out the mission of Christ, her Head, for the salvation of the world is totally opposed to the attack on innocent and defenseless human life, the Catholic Church in the United States seems to accept the abhorrent practice, in accord with a totally secularized view of human life and sexuality.

In this regard, I am told that the argument from the truth about human life is often ineffective, since the culture has no regard for objective truth, exalting the views of the individual, no matter how contrary to right reason they may be. Perhaps, the approach taken in assisting mothers and fathers contemplating abortion should be taken on a wider scale, namely the viewing of an ultrasound of the tiny human life at its beginning. In my experience, when mothers and fathers thinking to procure an abortion view, first, such an ultrasound, the greater majority of them do not proceed to the abortion. The visible image of the beauty and goodness of human life convinces them of the evil of abortion. Such ultrasounds should be readily viewable, especially by those who are responsible for leading the Church’s essential witness to life and by those who are responsible for the policies, programs and laws of the nation, which should protect and foster human life, not provide for its destruction.

The second event took place during my visit to Rome in late June and early July of 2004, in order to receive from Pope John Paul II the pallium of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Saint Louis. Given the difficult experience of the meeting in Denver, earlier in the month of June, I was counseled to visit the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in order to be certain that my pastoral practice was coherent with the Church’s teaching and practice. I was received in audience by the then Prefect of the Congregation, His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and the then Secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop, now Cardinal, Angelo Amato, and an English-speaking official of the Congregation. Cardinal Ratzinger assured me that the Congregation had studied my practice and found nothing objectionable about it. He only cautioned me not to support publicly candidates for office, something which, in fact, I had never done. He expressed some surprise at my doubt in the matter, given a letter which he had written to the United States Bishops, which had addressed the question thoroughly. He asked whether I had read his letter. I told him that I had not received the letter and asked whether he could kindly provide a copy for me. He smiled and suggested that I read it on a popular blog, asking the English-speaking official to make a photocopy of the text as it appeared in its entirety on the blog.[3]

The letter in question sets forth in an authoritative manner the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The failure to distribute it to the United States Bishops certainly contributed to the failure of the Bishops in June of 2004 to take appropriate action in the implementation of can. 915. Now, I am told that it is maintained that the letter was confidential and, therefore, cannot be published. The truth is that it was published, already in early July of 2004, and that clearly the Prefect of the Congregation, who authored it, was not at all disturbed about the fact.

Seventeen years have passed since the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Denver during the month of June of 2004. The most serious question of the application of can. 915 of the Code of Canon Law to Catholic politicians who support and promote programs, policies and legislation in grievous violation of the natural law seemingly remains a question for the Conference of Bishops. In fact, the obligation of the individual Bishop is a matter of universal Church discipline, regarding faith and morals, over which the Conference of Bishops has no authority. In fact, a number of Bishops have understood their sacred duty in the matter and are taking appropriate action. A Conference of Bishops fulfills an important role of support for the Diocesan Bishop, but it cannot replace the authority that belongs properly to him. It is the Diocesan Bishop, not the Conference, that applies the universal law to a particular situation.[4]

The work of the Conference of Bishops is to assist the individual Bishops in carrying out their sacred duty, in accord with can. 447 of the Code of Canon Law: “A conference of bishops, a permanent institution, is a group of bishops of some nation or certain territory who jointly exercise certain functions for the Christian faithful of their territory in order to promote the greater good which the Church offers to humanity, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place, according to the norm of law.”[5] What more corresponds to the promotion of “the greater good which the Church offers to humanity” than the safeguarding and fostering of human life created in the image and likeness of God,[6] and redeemed by the Most Precious Blood of Christ, God the Son Incarnate,[7] by correcting the scandal of Catholic politicians who publicly and obstinately promote procured abortion.

I invite you to pray with me for the Church in the United States of America and in every nation, that, faithful to the mission of Christ, her Bridegroom, she will be faithful, limpid and uncompromising in the application of can. 915, defending the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, safeguarding the souls of Catholic politicians who would grievously violate the moral law and still present themselves to receive Holy Communion, thereby committing sacrilege, and preventing the most serious scandal caused by the failure to observe the norm of can. 915.

May God bless you and your homes. Please pray for me and especially for the recovery of my health.

Yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
and in the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph,

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

28 October 2021
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

 

[1] “Can. 915 Ad sacram communionem ne admittantur excommunicati et interdicti post irrogationem vel declarationem poenae aliique in manifesto gravi peccato obstinate perseverantes.”

[2] Cf. Albert R. Jonsen, The Birth of Bioethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 290-291.

[3] Cf. https://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/7055.html; English translation: https://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/7055bdc4.html?eng=y

[4] Cf. can. 447; and Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Litterae Apostolicae Motu proprio datae, Apostolos suos, De theologica et iuridica natura conferentiarum Episcoporum, 21 Maii 1998, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 90 (1998) 641-658.

[5] “Can. 447 Episcoporum conferentia, institutum quidem permanens, est coetus Episcoporum alicuius nationis vel certi territorii, munera quaedam pastoralia coniunctim pro christifidelibus sui territorii exercentium, ad maius bonum provehendum, quod hominibus praebet Ecclesia, praesertim per apostolatus formas et rationes temporis et loci adiunctis apte accommodatas, ad normam iuris.”

[6] Cf. Gen 1, 27.

[7] Cf. 1 Pet 1, 2. 19; 1 Jn 1, 7; Rom 3, 25; Eph 1, 7; and Heb 9, 12; and Rev 1, 5.

USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America

(www.usccb.org) Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America from Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

My prayers are with our new President and his family today.

I am praying that God grant him wisdom and courage to lead this great nation and that God help him to meet the tests of these times, to heal the wounds caused by this pandemic, to ease our intense political and cultural divisions, and to bring people together with renewed dedication to America’s founding purposes, to be one nation under God committed to liberty and equality for all.

Catholic bishops are not partisan players in our nation’s politics. We are pastors responsible for the souls of millions of Americans and we are advocates for the needs of all our neighbors. In every community across the country, Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, and ministries form an essential culture of compassion and care, serving women, children, and the elderly, the poor and sick, the imprisoned, the migrant, and the marginalized, no matter what their race or religion.

When we speak on issues in American public life, we try to guide consciences, and we offer principles.  These principles are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social teachings of his Church. Jesus Christ revealed God’s plan of love for creation and revealed the truth about the human person, who is created in God’s image, endowed with God-given dignity, rights and responsibilities, and called to a transcendent destiny.

Based on these truths, which are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, the bishops and Catholic faithful carry out Christ’s commandment to love God and love our neighbors by working for an America that protects human dignity, expands equality and opportunities for every person, and is open-hearted towards the suffering and weak.

For many years now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has tried to help Catholics and others of good will in their reflections on political issues through a publication we call Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The most recent edition addresses a wide range of concerns. Among them: abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, racism, poverty, care for the environment, criminal justice reform, economic development, and international peace.

On these and other issues, our duty to love and our moral principles lead us to prudential judgments and positions that do not align neatly with the political categories of left or right or the platforms of our two major political parties. We work with every President and every Congress. On some issues we find ourselves more on the side of Democrats, while on others we find ourselves standing with Republicans. Our priorities are never partisan. We are Catholics first, seeking only to follow Jesus Christ faithfully and to advance his vision for human fraternity and community.

I look forward to working with President Biden and his administration, and the new Congress. As with every administration, there will be areas where we agree and work closely together and areas where we will have principled disagreement and strong opposition.

Working with President Biden will be unique, however, as he is our first president in 60 years to profess the Catholic faith. In a time of growing and aggressive secularism in American culture, when religious believers face many challenges, it will be refreshing to engage with a President who clearly understands, in a deep and personal way, the importance of religious faith and institutions. Mr. Biden’s piety and personal story, his moving witness to how his faith has brought him solace in times of darkness and tragedy, his longstanding commitment to the Gospel’s priority for the poor — all of this I find hopeful and inspiring.

At the same time, as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.

Our commitments on issues of human sexuality and the family, as with our commitments in every other area — such as abolishing the death penalty or seeking a health care system and economy that truly serves the human person — are guided by Christ’s great commandment to love and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.

For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the “preeminent priority.” Preeminent does not mean “only.” We have deep concerns about many threats to human life and dignity in our society. But as Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion.

Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.

Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families. My hope, too, is that we can work together to finally put in place a coherent family policy in this country, one that acknowledges the crucial importance of strong marriages and parenting to the well-being of children and the stability of communities. If the President, with full respect for the Church’s religious freedom, were to engage in this conversation, it would go a long way toward restoring the civil balance and healing our country’s needs.

President Biden’s call for national healing and unity is welcome on all levels. It is urgently needed as we confront the trauma in our country caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the social isolation that has only worsened the intense and long-simmering divisions among our fellow citizens.

As believers, we understand that healing is a gift that we can only receive from the hand of God. We know, too, that real reconciliation requires patient listening to those who disagree with us and a willingness to forgive and move beyond desires for reprisal. Christian love calls us to love our enemies and bless those who oppose us, and to treat others with the same compassion that we want for ourselves.

We are all under the watchful eye of God, who alone knows and can judge the intentions of our hearts. I pray that God will give our new President, and all of us, the grace to seek the common good with all sincerity.

I entrust all our hopes and anxieties in this new moment to the tender heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ and the patroness of this exceptional nation. May she guide us in the ways of peace and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.

Cdl. Burke: COVID is being used for ‘Great Reset’ to attack ‘freedom’ and ‘families’

(LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has warned of the danger of “certain forces” who are using the cover of COVID-19 to promote “fear,” attack freedom and the family, and so advance the “Great Reset.”

“Our nation is going through a crisis which threatens its very future as free and democratic. The worldwide spread of Marxist materialism, which has already brought destruction and death to the lives of so many, and which has threatened the foundations of our nation for decades, now seems to seize the governing power over our nation,” he said.

The former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura delivered a forthright homily, in which he outlined the widespread influence of communism, and the manner in which freedom is under attack through the measures related to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, at the Shrine church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Burke noted how America has become reliant upon communism and the communist state of China. “To attain economic gains, we as a nation have permitted ourselves to become dependent upon the Chinese Communist Party, an ideology totally opposed to the Christian foundations upon which families and our nation, remain safe and prosper,” the cardinal warned.

“I speak of the United States of America, but evidently many other nations are in the throes of a similar, most alarming crisis.”

Not only that, but the cardinal also highlighted how the global measures which are being introduced supposedly to prevent the spread of infection from COVID-19 are simply weapons of those who wish to attack freedom and the family itself. The virus is being “used by certain forces” in order to make everyone the “subjects of the so-called ‘Great Reset,’ the ‘new normal.’

“Then there is the mysterious Wuhan virus about whose nature and prevention the mass media daily give us conflicting information. What is clear, however, is that it has been used by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda. These forces tell us that we are now the subjects of the so-called ‘Great Reset,’ the ‘new normal,’ which is dictated to us by their manipulation of citizens and nations through ignorance and fear.”

Globalist elites have characterized the “Great Reset” as a plan to “push the reset button” on the global economy. The “Great Reset” is a plan designed by globalist elites, gathering at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland once a year, which “seeks to ‘push the reset button’ on the global economy.”

Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, is a prominent proponent of the Great Reset, stating, “In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that our old systems are not fit anymore for the 21st century,” he claimed. “It has laid bare the fundamental lack of social cohesion, fairness, inclusion, and equality. Now is the historical moment, the time, not only to fight the virus but to shape the system … for the post COVID era… In short, we need a great reset.”

Schwab has also published a book titled “COVID-19: The Great Reset,” in which he outlines the “changes” necessary for a more “sustainable world going forward.” TIME magazine devoted an entire issue to pushing the “Great Reset.”

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign plans and rhetoric also align with the radical international socialist plan.

Cardinal Burke attacked the measures of “self-isolation” and quarantine, which are forced upon citizens in many different nations, supposedly to prevent others becoming infected with COVID-19. “At a time when we need to be close to one another in Christian love, worldly forces would isolate us and have us believe that we are alone and dependent upon secular forces which would make us slaves to their godless and murderous agenda.”

Continuing with his homily, Burke lamented the lack of sound teaching and leadership from the clergy, in response to the global crisis. “The response of many bishops and priests, and of many faithful, has manifested a woeful lack of sound catechesis. So many in the Church seem to have no understanding of how Christ continues his saving work in times of plague and of other disasters.”

Such poor leadership greatly affects the faithful, who are left without proper teaching in faith and morals, Burke mentioned. “Too often the faithful receive nothing in response, or a response which is not grounded in the unchanging truths regarding faith and morals,” he said. “They receive responses that seem to come not from shepherds but secular managers.

Despite the widespread attack by unseen forces in order to promote the Great Reset, the prelate urged people to have hope, saying that Christ “will never be unfaithful to his promises. He will never abandon us.”

The cardinal also called upon the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego, as a consolation to all in troubled times: “I am truly the ever perfect, holy virgin Mary, who has the honor, to be the mother of the one, true God for whom we all live, the creator of people, the Lord of all around us, and of what is close to us, the Lord of heaven, the Lord of earth.”

 

Below is the full transcription of Cardinal Burke’s homily:

“Praised be Jesus Christ!

We come to Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day with troubled and heavy hearts. Our nation is going through a crisis which threatens its very future as free and democratic. The worldwide spread of Marxist materialism, which has already brought destruction and death to the lives of so many, and which has threatened the foundations of our nation for decades, now seems to seize the governing power over our nation.

To attain economic gains, we as a nation have permitted ourselves to become dependent upon the Chinese Communist Party, an ideology totally opposed to the Christian foundations upon which families and our nation, remain safe and prosper.

I speak of the United States of America, but evidently many other nations are in the throes of a similar, most alarming crisis.

Then there is the mysterious Wuhan virus about whose nature and prevention the mass media daily give us conflicting information. What is clear, however, is that it has been used by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda. These forces tell us that we are now the subjects of the so-called ‘Great Reset,’ the ‘new normal,’ which is dictated to us by their manipulation of citizens and nations through ignorance and fear.

Now, we are supposed to find in a disease and its prevention the way to understand and direct our lives, rather than in God and in His plan for our salvation. The response of many bishops and priests, and of many faithful, has manifested a woeful lack of sound catechesis. So many in the Church seem to have no understanding of how Christ continues his saving work in times of plague and of other disasters.

What is more, our holy Mother Church, the spotless bride of Christ, in which Christ is ever at work for our eternal redemption, is beset by reports of moral corruption, especially in matters of the sixth and seventh commandments, which seem to increase by the day. In our own nation, the reports about Theodore McCarrick have rightly tempted many devoted Catholics to question the shepherds, who in accord with Christ’s plan for the Church are to be their secured guides by teaching the truths of the faith, by leading them in the fitting worship of God and in prayer to him, and by guiding them by means of the Church’s perennial discipline.

Too often the faithful receive nothing in response, or a response which is not grounded in the unchanging truths regarding faith and morals. They receive responses that seem to come not from shepherds but secular managers.

The confusion regarding what the church truly teaches and demands of us in accord with Her teaching, generates ever greater divisions within the Body of Christ. All of this cripples the Church in Her mission of witness to divine truth and divine love, at a time when the world has never needed more, the Church to be a beacon. In encountering the world, the Church falsely wants to accommodate Herself to the world, instead of calling the world to conversion in obedience to the divine law written on every human heart and revealed in fullness in the redemptive, incarnation of God the Son.

These grievous troubles of course present a formidable challenge to daily Christian living. The impact of the crisis in the world and in the Church is profound for all of us. Many are enduring the most painful suffering, physical, emotional, and spiritual, which such a situation necessarily causes.

At a time when we need to be close to one another in Christian love, worldly forces would isolate us and have us believe that we are alone and dependent upon secular forces which would make us slaves to their godless and murderous agenda.

Yes, our hearts are understandably heavy, but Christ, through the intercession of his Virgin Mother, lifts up our hearts to his own, renewing our trust in him, who has promised us eternal salvation in the Church. He will never be unfaithful to his promises. He will never abandon us. Let us not be beguiled by the forces of the world and by false prophets. Let us not abandon Christ and seek our salvation in places where it never can be found.

Let us never forget the words by which Our Lady identified herself at her first apparition to St. Juan Diego: ‘Know, know for sure my dearest and youngest son, that I am truly the ever perfect, holy virgin Mary, who has the honor, to be the mother of the one, true God for whom we all live, the creator of people, the Lord of all around us, and of what is close to us, the Lord of heaven, the Lord of earth. I want very much that they build my sacred, little house here, in which I will show Him, I will exalt Him upon making Him manifest, I will give Him to all people in all my personal love – Him that is why compassionate gaze, Him that is my help, Him that is my salvation.’

May the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe here, be always a worthy instrument by which the Immaculate Heart of Mary draws hearts to herself and brings them to the glorious, pierced heart of Jesus, to the only source of healing, and strength in this life, and unto eternal life.”

Covid Vaccines: ‘The Ends Cannot Justify the Means’. Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

( Source: https://www.crisismagazine.com/)

In recent weeks, news agencies and various information sources have reported that, in response to the Covid-19 emergency, some countries have produced vaccines using cell lines from aborted human fetuses. In other countries, such vaccines are being planned.

A growing chorus of churchmen (bishops’ conferences, individual bishops, and priests) has said that, in the event that no alternative vaccine using ethically licit substances is available, it would be morally permissible for Catholics to receive vaccines made from the cell lines of aborted babies. Supporters of this position invoke two documents of the Holy See: the first, from the Pontifical Academy for Life, is titled, “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human fetuses” and was issued on June 9, 2005; the second, an Instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is titled, “Dignitas Personae, on certain bioethical questions” and was issued on September 8, 2008. Both of these documents allow for the use of such vaccines in exceptional cases and for a limited time, on the basis of what in moral theology is called remote, passive, material cooperation with evil. The aforementioned documents assert that Catholics who use such vaccines at the same time have “the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available.”

In the case of vaccines made from the cell lines of aborted human fetuses, we see a clear contradiction between the Catholic doctrine to categorically, and beyond the shadow of any doubt, reject abortion in all cases as a grave moral evil that cries out to heaven for vengeance (see Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2268, n. 2270), and the practice of regarding vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines as morally acceptable in exceptional cases of “urgent need” — on the grounds of remote, passive, material cooperation. To argue that such vaccines can be morally licit if there is no alternative is in itself contradictory and cannot be acceptable for Catholics.

One ought to recall the following words of Pope John Paul II regarding the dignity of unborn human life: “The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Christifideles Laici, 38). Using vaccines made from the cells of murdered unborn children contradicts a “maximum determination” to defend unborn life.

The theological principle of material cooperation is certainly valid and may be applied to a whole host of cases (e.g. in paying taxes, the use of products made from slave labor, and so on). However, this principle can hardly be applied to the case of vaccines made from fetal cell lines, because those who knowingly and voluntarily receive such vaccines enter into a kind of concatenation, albeit very remote, with the process of the abortion industry. The crime of abortion is so monstrous that any kind of concatenation with this crime, even a very remote one, is immoral and cannot be accepted under any circumstances by a Catholic once he has become fully aware of it. One who uses these vaccines must realize that his body is benefitting from the “fruits” (although steps removed through a series of chemical processes) of one of mankind’s greatest crimes.

Any link to the abortion process, even the most remote and implicit, will cast a shadow over the Church’s duty to bear unwavering witness to the truth that abortion must be utterly rejected. The ends cannot justify the means. We are living through one of the worst genocides known to man. Millions upon millions of babies across the world have been slaughtered in their mother’s womb, and day after day this hidden genocide continues through the abortion industry, biomedical research and fetal technology, and a push by governments and international bodies to promote such vaccines as one of their goals. Now is not the time for Catholics to yield; to do so would be grossly irresponsible. The acceptance of these vaccines by Catholics, on the grounds that they involve only a “remote, passive and material cooperation” with evil, would play into the hands of the Church’s enemies and weaken her as the last stronghold against the evil of abortion.

What else can a vaccine derived from fetal cell lines be other than a violation of the God-given Order of Creation? For it is based on a serious violation of this Order through the murder of an unborn child. Had this child not been denied the right to life, had his cells (which have been further cultivated several times in the lab) not been made available for the production of a vaccine, they could not be marketed. We therefore have here a double violation of God’s holy Order: on the one hand, through the abortion itself, and on the other hand, through the heinous business of trafficking and marketing the remains of aborted children. Yet, this double disregard for the divine Order of Creation can never be justified, not even on the grounds of preserving the health of a person or society through such vaccines. Our society has created a substitute religion: health has been made the highest good, a substitute god to whom sacrifices must be offered — in this case, through a vaccine based on the death of another human life.

In examining the ethical questions surrounding vaccines, we have to ask ourselves: How and why did all of this become possible? Was there truly no alternative? Why did murder-based technology emerge in medicine, whose purpose is instead to bring life and health? Bio-medical research that exploits the innocent unborn and uses their bodies as “raw material” for the purpose of vaccines seems more akin to cannibalism than medicine. We also ought to consider that, for some in the bio-medical industry, the cell lines of unborn children are a “product,” the abortionist and vaccine manufacturer are the “supplier,” and the recipients of the vaccine are “consumers.” Technology based on murder is rooted in hopelessness and ends in despair. We must resist the myth that “there is no alternative.” On the contrary, we must proceed with the hope and conviction that alternatives exist, and that human ingenuity, with the help of God, can discover them. This is the only way to pass from darkness to light, and from death to life.

The Lord said that in the end times even the elect will be seduced (cf. Mk. 13:22). Today, the entire Church and all Catholic faithful must urgently seek to be strengthened in the doctrine and practice of the faith. In confronting the evil of abortion, more than ever Catholics must “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). Bodily health is not an absolute value. Obedience to the law of God and the eternal salvation of the souls must be given primacy. Vaccines derived from the cells of cruelly murdered unborn children are clearly apocalyptic in character and may possibly foreshadow the mark of the beast (see Rev. 13:16).

Some churchmen in our day reassure the faithful by affirming that receiving a Covid-19 vaccine derived from the cell lines of an aborted child is morally licit if an alternative is not available. They justify their assertion on the basis of “material and remote cooperation” with evil. Such affirmations are extremely anti-pastoral and counterproductive, especially when one considers the increasingly apocalyptic character of the abortion industry, and the inhuman nature of some biomedical research and embryonic technology. Now more than ever, Catholics categorically cannot encourage and promote the sin of abortion, even in the slightest, by accepting these vaccines. Therefore, as Successors of the Apostles and Shepherds responsible for the eternal salvation of souls, we consider it impossible to be silent and maintain an ambiguous attitude regarding our duty to resist with “maximum of determination” (Pope John Paul II) against the “unspeakable crime” of abortion (II Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 51).

This statement was written at the advice and counsel of doctors and scientists from various countries. A substantial contribution also came from the laity: from grandmothers, grandfathers, fathers and mothers of families, and from young people. All of those consulted — independent of age, nationality and profession — unanimously and almost instinctively rejected the idea of a vaccine derived from the cell lines of aborted children. Furthermore, they considered the justification offered for using such vaccines (i.e. “material remote cooperation”) as weak and unsuitable. This is comforting and, at the same time, very revealing: their unanimous response is a further demonstration of the strength of reason and the sensus fidei.

More than ever, we need the spirit of the confessors and martyrs who avoided the slightest suspicion of collaboration with the evil of their own age. The Word of God says: “Be simple as children of God without reproach in the midst of a depraved and perverse generation, in which you must shine like lights in the world” (Phil. 2, 15).

December 12, 2020, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe

Cardinal Janis Pujats, Metropolitan archbishop emeritus of Riga
+ Tomash Peta, Metropolitan archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop/bishop emeritus of Karaganda
+ Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop of Tyler (USA)
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DONALD J. TRUMP

OPEN LETTER

to the President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Solemnity of Christ the King

 

Mister President,

Allow me to address you at this hour in which the fate of the whole world is being threatened by a global conspiracy against God and humanity. I write to you as an Archbishop, as a Successor of the Apostles, as the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America. I am writing to you in the midst of the silence of both civil and religious authorities. May you accept these words of mine as the “voice of one crying out in the desert” (Jn 1:23).

As I said when I wrote my letter to you in June, this historical moment sees the forces of Evil aligned in a battle without quarter against the forces of Good; forces of Evil that appear powerful and organized as they oppose the children of Light, who are disoriented and disorganized, abandoned by their temporal and spiritual leaders.

Daily we sense the attacks multiplying of those who want to destroy the very basis of society: the natural family, respect for human life, love of country, freedom of education and business. We see heads of nations and religious leaders pandering to this suicide of Western culture and its Christian soul, while the fundamental rights of citizens and believers are denied in the name of a health emergency that is revealing itself more and more fully as instrumental to the establishment of an inhuman faceless tyranny.

A global plan called the Great Reset is underway. Its architect is a global élite that wants to subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations. In several nations this plan has already been approved and financed; in others it is still in an early stage. Behind the world leaders who are the accomplices and executors of this infernal project, there are unscrupulous characters who finance the World Economic Forum and Event 201, promoting their agenda.

The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups. Beyond the enormous economic interests that motivate the promoters of the Great Reset, the imposition of the vaccination will be accompanied by the requirement of a health passport and a digital ID, with the consequent contact tracing of the population of the entire world. Those who do not accept these measures will be confined in detention camps or placed under house arrest, and all their assets will be confiscated.

Mr. President, I imagine that you are already aware that in some countries the Great Reset will be activated between the end of this year and the first trimester of 2021. For this purpose, further lockdowns are planned, which will be officially justified by a supposed second and third wave of the pandemic. You are well aware of the means that have been deployed to sow panic and legitimize draconian limitations on individual liberties, artfully provoking a world-wide economic crisis. In the intentions of its architects, this crisis will serve to make the recourse of nations to the Great Reset irreversible, thereby giving the final blow to a world whose existence and very memory they want to completely cancel. But this world, Mr. President, includes people, affections, institutions, faith, culture, traditions, and ideals: people and values that do not act like automatons, who do not obey like machines, because they are endowed with a soul and a heart, because they are tied together by a spiritual bond that draws its strength from above, from that God that our adversaries want to challenge, just as Lucifer did at the beginning of time with his “non serviam.”

Many people – as we well know – are annoyed by this reference to the clash between Good and Evil and the use of “apocalyptic” overtones, which according to them exasperates spirits and sharpens divisions. It is not surprising that the enemy is angered at being discovered just when he believes he has reached the citadel he seeks to conquer undisturbed. What is surprising, however, is that there is no one to sound the alarm. The reaction of the deep state to those who denounce its plan is broken and incoherent, but understandable. Just when the complicity of the mainstream media had succeeded in making the transition to the New World Order almost painless and unnoticed, all sorts of deceptions, scandals and crimes are coming to light.

Until a few months ago, it was easy to smear as “conspiracy theorists” those who denounced these terrible plans, which we now see being carried out down to the smallest detail. No one, up until last February, would ever have thought that, in all of our cities, citizens would be arrested simply for wanting to walk down the street, to breathe, to want to keep their business open, to want to go to church on Sunday. Yet now it is happening all over the world, even in picture-postcard Italy that many Americans consider to be a small enchanted country, with its ancient monuments, its churches, its charming cities, its characteristic villages. And while the politicians are barricaded inside their palaces promulgating decrees like Persian satraps, businesses are failing, shops are closing, and people are prevented from living, traveling, working, and praying. The disastrous psychological consequences of this operation are already being seen, beginning with the suicides of desperate entrepreneurs and of our children, segregated from friends and classmates, told to follow their classes while sitting at home alone in front of a computer.

In Sacred Scripture, Saint Paul speaks to us of “the one who opposes” the manifestation of the mystery of iniquity, the kathèkon (2 Thess 2:6-7). In the religious sphere, this obstacle to evil is the Church, and in particular the papacy; in the political sphere, it is those who impede the establishment of the New World Order.

As is now clear, the one who occupies the Chair of Peter has betrayed his role from the very beginning in order to defend and promote the globalist ideology, supporting the agenda of the deep church, who chose him from its ranks.

Mr. President, you have clearly stated that you want to defend the nation – One Nation under God, fundamental liberties, and non-negotiable values that are denied and fought against today. It is you, dear President, who are “the one who opposes” the deep state, the final assault of the children of darkness.

For this reason, it is necessary that all people of good will be persuaded of the epochal importance of the imminent election: not so much for the sake of this or that political program, but because of the general inspiration of your action that best embodies – in this particular historical context – that world, our world, which they want to cancel by means of the lockdown. Your adversary is also our adversary: it is the Enemy of the human race, He who is “a murderer from the beginning” (Jn 8:44).

Around you are gathered with faith and courage those who consider you the final garrison against the world dictatorship. The alternative is to vote for a person who is manipulated by the deep state, gravely compromised by scandals and corruption, who will do to the United States what Jorge Mario Bergoglio is doing to the Church, Prime Minister Conte to Italy, President Macron to France, Prime Minster Sanchez to Spain, and so on. The blackmailable nature of Joe Biden – just like that of the prelates of the Vatican’s “magic circle” – will expose him to be used unscrupulously, allowing illegitimate powers to interfere in both domestic politics as well as international balances. It is obvious that those who manipulate him already have someone worse than him ready, with whom they will replace him as soon as the opportunity arises.

And yet, in the midst of this bleak picture, this apparently unstoppable advance of the “Invisible Enemy,” an element of hope emerges. The adversary does not know how to love, and it does not understand that it is not enough to assure a universal income or to cancel mortgages in order to subjugate the masses and convince them to be branded like cattle. This people, which for too long has endured the abuses of a hateful and tyrannical power, is rediscovering that it has a soul; it is understanding that it is not willing to exchange its freedom for the homogenization and cancellation of its identity; it is beginning to understand the value of familial and social ties, of the bonds of faith and culture that unite honest people. This Great Reset is destined to fail because those who planned it do not understand that there are still people ready to take to the streets to defend their rights, to protect their loved ones, to give a future to their children and grandchildren. The leveling inhumanity of the globalist project will shatter miserably in the face of the firm and courageous opposition of the children of Light. The enemy has Satan on its side, He who only knows how to hate. But on our side, we have the Lord Almighty, the God of armies arrayed for battle, and the Most Holy Virgin, who will crush the head of the ancient Serpent. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).

Mr. President, you are well aware that, in this crucial hour, the United States of America is considered the defending wall against which the war declared by the advocates of globalism has been unleashed. Place your trust in the Lord, strengthened by the words of the Apostle Paul: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). To be an instrument of Divine Providence is a great responsibility, for which you will certainly receive all the graces of state that you need, since they are being fervently implored for you by the many people who support you with their prayers.

With this heavenly hope and the assurance of my prayer for you, for the First Lady, and for your collaborators, with all my heart I send you my blessing.

 

God bless the United States of America!

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

Tit. Archbishop of Ulpiana

Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America

As election campaign begins, New Zealand’s bishops promote Catholic Social Teaching

As election campaign begins, New Zealand’s bishops promote Catholic Social Teaching

 

Ahead of New Zealand’s Oct. 17 elections, the country’s bishops urged the electorate to remembers Catholic Social Teaching during their annual Social Justice Week.

The Sep. 6-12 commemoration has the theme: Easy As CST — Unlocking the Church’s Potential.

“Never has Catholic social teaching been more relevant in New Zealand and in our world than now,” the bishops’ statement says.

“From navigating through a world still responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, to an increased awareness of racism and historic injustice, and the ever-increasing socio-economic disparities, the Church’s social teaching helps us focus our concerns about the world. It provides a lens through which we can try to make sense of how our society is being changed, particularly by COVID-19 at this time,” it continues.

Catholic social teaching is the body of thought on social issues developed by the Church since Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical letter Rerum Novarum, which dealt with the huge social and economic changes that occurred during the 19th century.

“Catholic social teaching helps us to apply Gospel values such as love, peace, justice, compassion and community to modern social problems such as poverty – including homelessness and hunger, conflict, migration, access to goods and the environment,” the New Zealand bishops said.

Noting the proximity of Social Justice Week 2020 to the country’s general elections, the bishops said “perhaps it is not mere coincidence.”

The official campaign for the poll began with the dissolution of New Zealand’s parliament on Sep. 6, the first day of Social Justice Week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seeking another term after what is seen as a largely successful fight against the pandemic – the island nation of 5 million people has had only 1,767 cases as of Saturday, with 24 people dying with the virus. However, a rash of new cases after New Zealand declared itself “COVID-free” in June shows how difficult the battle against the pandemic can be.

“COVID-19 has exposed our vulnerabilities – within ourselves, our communities and in our world,” the bishops said.

“However, compared to other parts of the world which have been unable to move beyond individual rights and freedoms to protecting the health of the community, most New Zealanders showed a commitment to the common good of all. Lockdown allowed us to rally around the common good of the health of all, but now can we rally around the common good of the economic health of all? Are we able to bring our experience and understanding of the common good forward and compel ourselves to think first of the needs of those who are most vulnerable?”

The bishops said the Church’s “rich tradition of social teaching” helps Catholics develop “a heart for social change.”

“A change in heart or behavior needs firstly, an encounter with Christ. Pope Francis spoke of seeing the Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable, through charity and sharing,” the letter continues.

“After COVID-19, we don’t have to look very far. Secondly, we need to apply our intellect – using tools to be able to analyze current social issues. In order to move together towards a more just world, we need to question how we proclaim the Gospel and make it present,” the bishops said.

The statement concluded with a reminder of what all New Zealanders have “collectively experienced and learned” during the coronavirus lockdown.

 “[We] reflect on those experiences in the light of Catholic social teaching, and we move forward in love and justice to care for each other, for our neighbors, and for our world.”

Charles Collins

(cruxnow.com)

Sister Dede Byrne’s speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention

Sr. Deirdre “Dede” Byrne, POSC, was among the speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention. Now a Catholic religious sister, Byrne previously served as a surgeon, retired army officer, and missionary. The full text of her speech, delivered August 26, is below:

 

Good evening. I am Sister Dede Byrne, and I belong to the Community of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Last Fourth of July, I was honored to be one of the president’s guests at his Salute to America celebration. I must confess that I recently prayed while in chapel, begging God to allow me to be a voice, an instrument for human life. And now here I am, speaking at the Republican National Convention. I guess you’d better be careful what you pray for. My journey to religious life was not a traditional route, if there is such a thing. In 1978, as a medical school student at Georgetown University, I joined the Army to help pay for my tuition, and ended up devoting 29 years to the military, serving as a doctor and a surgeon in places like Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. After much prayer and contemplation, I entered my religious order in 2002, working to serve the poor and the sick in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq and in Washington, D.C. Humility is at the foundation of our order, which makes it very difficult to talk about myself. But I can speak about my experience working for those fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries all around the world. Those refugees all share a common experience. They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn. As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave. It is no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb. Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life? As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday. Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary. Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.

 

www.catholicnewsagency.com

 

YOUSSEF ABSI, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Of Antioch and All the East APPEAL FOR BEIRUT 2020

READ THE DOCUMENT

Rabweh, August 10, 2020
To the faithful and friends of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Dear all,

The fourth of August 2020 was a catastrophic day in Lebanon due to the criminal explosion that occurred in the port of Beirut, impacting and shocking the capital and the entire country, which we are all still trying to wake up from. The explosion left behind, as the whole world has seen and witnessed, hundreds of victims and more than five thousand wounded, many of whom are in critical condition. The deadly blast destroyed a large number of buildings (70,000 homes estimated so far), leaving thousands of people in the city with a shattered house or without a house at all. All of this came amidst an unprecedented and extreme political, economic and health crisis. On Saturday, the eighth of August, we visited our brother, Metropolitan George Baconi, and we inspected together the damage that affected our children and their properties, as well as the damage to churches and institutions. We saw with our own eyes the horror of the disaster and heard with our own ears people’s screams of pain.

Thanks to God Almighty, many individuals and institutions took the initiative to contact the Patriarchate or the Archdiocese of Beirut to express their solidarity and their desire to provide moral and material support. From the first day, the Patriarchate, eparchies and monastic orders placed all their institutions and monasteries at the service of those affected. But this is not enough. The people of Beirut are going through an extremely difficult period psychologically, physically and financially, and this requires us to offer them everything within our power. Thus, we appeal to all of you to take the initiative of extending a helping hand in order to show, during these difficult times, the unity and strength of our Church in the face of this calamity and to stand with the weak who were the victims of the tragic explosion.

We ask everyone who would like to contribute to contact the Chancellery of our Patriarch in Rabweh at this email:
Patriarcat@melkitepat.org or to call the following numbers: +96176658803; +96179194306.

We pray to the Lord Jesus that the victims may rest in His peace, and be welcomed into His kingdom. We ask that, by His mercy, He heals the wounded, calms hearts, and comforts all those who are sad with His everlasting joy. We also ask Him to reward everyone who gives of their time or their money a hundredfold in return.

With our prayers and love!

YOUSSEF

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Of Antioch and All the East

Melkite – Greek Catholic
PATRIARCHATE
Of Antioch and all the East
Damascus: Phone: +963/11/5446529 – 5414531– 5441030 * Fax: 963/11/5418966 *P.O. Box 22249 Damascus (Syria)
Raboueh: Phone: +961/4/413111 – 417566–525655– 525301 * Fax: 961/4/418113 * P.O. Box 70071 Antelias (Lebanon)
Website: www.melkitepat.org – email: patriarcat@melkitepat.org

Texas. Pastoral Letter from Bishop Joseph E. Strickland On the Ethical Development of COVID-19 Vaccine

Dear Faithful of the Diocese of Tyler,

As your Shepherd, I spiritually journey with you through the Easter season toward the glorious celebration of Pentecost and pray that we all continue to cling, tenaciously, to our Easter faith. Let us exclaim, “He is Risen, Alleluia!”

The Light and Joy of Easter is especially poignant during this burdensome and challenging time as we all do our best to sift through and address the economic hardships and human sufferings resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. I realize there is much confusion, fear and shaken faith among you, but with Christ by our side, we will weather this storm, together, just as the disciples weathered the storm on the Sea of Galilee. As your bishop, I will guide you through the confusion and fear as best as I can.

Over the past several weeks, my eyes have been opened to realities, some of which, I must admit I was ignorant and unaware. I have made an effort to address realities which concern human life and suffering. Recently, I voiced my concern regarding the rationing of health care which, if allowed, would have greatly diminished the dignity of the human person, and opted not to utilize Mass Critical Care guidelines which would have included endorsing an interpretation that allows providers to stop futile care for one patient if its provision denies care for another critical patient. Instead, I opted to utilize the SOFA (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment) guidelines which we have in place at our CHRISTUS Catholic hospitals. SOFA provides an assessment based on the human person, not on the number of medical devices on hand. The Diocese of Tyler will continue to utilize Catholic ethical teachings to navigate the sea of serious human life questions which continue to surface as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This situation has reminded me that, as Catholics, we must deeply root ourselves in the fundamental teachings of the great Deposit of Faith which we have inherited. The most basic teaching that human life is sacred from conception to natural death is more important than ever.

Now, I ask you to join your voices with mine in an effort to bring to a halt a reality of which, until recently, I knew very little about – the use of in line stem cells from aborted babies in developing vaccines. We all know the sad saga of abortion in our nation and throughout the world which continues to grow more diabolical even as we energetically proclaim, with ever deeper clarity, the precious gift of every unborn child. As the world battles the Coronavirus and marches toward a vaccine or cure, the ugly culture of death is exposing itself in an even more serious way. The Church has long defended the right to life and love owed to our children. Recent popes have unanimously pointed to the culture of death that is rampant in our world as a threat that we must address. In his beautiful 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”), Pope St. John Paul II said modern society faces a clash between the “culture of death” and the “culture of life” (28). In direct language, he said that “the killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act” (63). A better translation of Pope St. John Paul’s powerful phrase in the “The Gospel of Life” would use the phrase HUMAN PERSONS. The child in the womb is more than a creature. The child in the womb is a HUMAN PERSON. Just as we are human persons.

More than ever, Pope St. John Paul’s words call Catholics to give testimony to the glory of the cross that shines brightly in the darkness (50). Sadly, it seems these historic pleas have gone unheeded. Still, many Christians in our society, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic alike, are too willing to allow an unborn child to be killed simply because they believe the unborn child’s death will somehow improve their lives.

Tragically, people are not aware of or have chosen to turn a blind eye to the advances in medical science which allow vaccines to be developed with the wholesale use of aborted children’s bodies. The Church has previously addressed this gravely serious issue and urged faithful Catholics to demand that medical science find ethical paths to creating these beneficial vaccines. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI already reminded us in Donum Vitae (1987), that “what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible” (4). Just because the crime of abortion is considered legal in our nation does not mean it is morally permissible to use the dead bodies of these children to cure a global pandemic. Emphatically, this practice is evil.

Thankfully, ethical means are available and can prove to be just as effective in developing vaccines; umbilical cells, placental cells, adult stem cells – and other sources of cells, including even those of insects, provide completely viable paths to an effective vaccine. Scientists I’ve spoken with assure me that there is no medical necessity for using aborted children in order to develop the much-needed vaccine to protect us from this particular strain of Coronavirus.

As your Shepherd, I urge you to join me, NOW, in passionately but prayerfully speaking out against this practice. As I said in the beginning of this letter, I will help you navigate this storm as best as I can. In the coming weeks, I will provide a guide to assist you with speaking the truth to all your elected representatives, the pharmaceutical industry, and your local community. We must insist that legislators create legislation which establishes the illegal and immoral nature of any use of the remains of aborted babies for research. Further, we must insist that pharmaceutical companies comply with such legislation. I believe this can be a significant building block in a culture of life which eliminates the taint of economic gain that too easily infects the abortion industry.

I believe today’s ugly threat of new vaccines being developed and tested using aborted children gives us an opportunity in divine providence to right this incredible wrong that strikes at the very root of the threats to the sanctity of life that continues to harm human civilization. As the United States Bishops have urged in their April 17th letter to the FDA, our immediate task is to demand ethical vaccines for COVID-19. We must go further, however, and pursue the prevention of future development of vaccines using remnants and available cells of aborted children’s bodies and to use only ethically developed vaccines.

In closing, I ask you to pray with me for God’s conversion of hearts which is the ultimate remedy for the culture of death in which we continue to be immersed. We must beg the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of her chaste spouse St. Joseph, and of all the saints to help us hold sacred the greatest gift of God’s creation which is the human person and the precious gift of human life at every age and stage.

Given this day, April 23, 2020 in Tyler, TX.

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler

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USCCB. Bishop Chairman Calls on Administration to Reverse Course on Federal Executions

June 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – Following the U.S. Attorney General’s decision to set new federal execution dates for four federal death row inmates beginning July 13, 2020, and the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States declining to hear their appeal, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Administration to reverse course on presiding over federal executions for the first time in 17 years.

Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:

“Now that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeals of four federal death row inmates, and the Justice Department has set new execution dates beginning July 13, I reiterate the call made last July for the Administration to reverse course.

“As articulated to the Supreme Court in another case earlier this year, the bishops have been calling for an end to the death penalty for decades. Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have all called for an end to the death penalty around the world. As Pope Francis articulated through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the death penalty is unacceptable as an affront to the Gospel and to respect for human life. At their June 2019 meeting, the Catholic bishops of the United States voted overwhelmingly in affirmation of this position.

“Two of my brother bishops and I wrote. . . last year: ‘To oppose the death penalty is not to be “soft on crime.” Rather, it is to be strong on the dignity of life.’ To this end, I implore Attorney General Barr and President Trump to abandon this path to preside over the first federal executions in 17 years.”

(http://www.usccb.org/news/2020/20-109.cfm)