WDTPRS: 17th Sunday after Pentecost – Satan yearns to crow over your fallen soul


Today’s prayer did not survive the scalpel-wielding experts of the Consilium, slicing and suturing our orations under the surveillance of the late then-Fr. Annibale Bugnini.   It was not in the typical edition of 1970 or the edito altera of 1975.

Then a miracle occurred.

The third edition, the 2002 Missale Romanum includes this Collect, though in nearly complete obscurity.   It took me a while to hunt it up in the 2002MR.  If you are interested, look in the section Missae et orationes pro variis necessitatibus vel ad diversa, subsection Ad diversa, 48. In quaecumque necessitate, scheme “C”, “Aliae orationes (shortcut, go to p. 1152).  The 1970 and 1975MR, both, had two schemes for Masses In quacumque necessitate (“In whatever necessity”). In the 2002MR a third was added.

The redactors of the newest edition added quite a few things, such as new schemes for vigils of important feasts and the “Prayer over the People” on the days of Lent.  It is as if they recognized that too much had been lost to the Novus Ordo.  Of course with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum we can make use of the 1962 Missale Romanum and celebrate the sacred mysteries also in light of all we have learned of the ars celebrandi in the intervening decades.

The recovery has begun.  And none too late!

Da, quaesumus, Domine,
populo tuo
diabolica vitare contagia:
et te solum Deum pura mente sectari

The phrase diabolica vitare contagia is a glory of the Latin Church’s millennial life of prayer.  Note the wonder assonance and the separation of diabolica from contagia by the verb, a use of hyberbaton.

This Collect used for centuries in the post-Tridentine Missale Romanum, it is to be found in ancient prayer books such as the Liber Sacramentorum Gellonensis, a form of the Gelasian Sacramentary.  It appears as the Collect for the Sunday after the Autumn Ember days (Spring in the Southern climes, though that wasn’t a consideration of the ancients).  As such, it would have been a time of prayer and fasting and for ordinations.

Let’s check our vocabulary to see if we can find treasures beneath the surface.

I am sure you know the words “contagion” and “contamination”.  In Latin we have, as our steadfast Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us, feminine contagio, onis, and neuter contagium, ii, or contamen, inis, which mean “a touching, contact, touch, in a good or bad sense”.  It comes then to indicate “a contact with something physically or morally unclean, a contagion, infection” and thence “an infection, pollution, vicious companionship or intercourse, participation, contamination, etc.”.  Surely those of you who were educated by the sisters or brothers lo those many moons ago in Catholic schools were warned to “avoid the company of bad friends”.  Not only is your reputation tainted with their stains but you subject yourself to their “contamination” and the near occasion of sin.  Go with bad friends, and you go down.

We won’t get into the very complicated idea of mens, which can mean “mind”, but also “heart, soul”, in fact the whole of the human person in some contexts.  But we can glance at purus, the adjective for, basically, “clean, pure, i. e. free from any foreign, esp. from any contaminating admixture”.  Obviously, this can refer not only to physical cleanliness, but also moral faultlessness.  There are juridical and religious overtones as well.  For example, for the ancient Romans a thing which is purus, such as a locus purus, a “pure place”, was not just undefiled, it was unconsecrated, not sacer.  On the other hand, purus does also mean “undefiled”, in the sense that nothing dead had been there.  There had never been a funeral or burial, etc.  It is interesting how the Romans got down to brass tacks.

Then we have the verbs vitare and sectari.  While a sector, m. is a “cutpurse”, the sort of bad friend you don’t want to follow around, the verb sector, deponent (passive form but active meaning) is “to follow continually or eagerly, in a good or bad sense; to run after, attend, accompany; to follow after, chase, pursue”.   On the other hand, a vitor is, in fact, just a “cooper; basket-maker”. We are interested in vito, which is not the name of a character in The Godfather.  The verb vito means “to shun, seek to escape, avoid, evade”.  The word sort of looks like it should be related to something having to do with “life”, vita.  In reality, however, vito is shortend from vicito, having the root vic, related to the ancient root wik in Greek eikô (“to yield”).

The important thing to follow, and not avoid, is that in our prayer there are contrasting pairs: contamination v. purity, avoidance v. association.

Each pair reveals our need to make choices and to persevere in what is right.

Grant, O Lord,
unto Your people,
to shun diabolical contamination:
and to follow You, the only God, with a pure soul

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):

Oh, that’s right.  It was excluded from the Missal after the Council.  Let’s instead have…

Grant to Your people,
O Lord,
to shun contaminating intercourse with the devil
and to go with You, who alone are God, with a pure heart

As I read and reread the Latin, and then the literal English version, the Biblical imagery of faithlessness as “adultery” or “prostitution” came to mind.  The relationship between the People and God was conceived as an exclusive covenant like a marriage bond.  When the People of Israel were faithless to God they are described as “going with”, so to speak, false idols, “whoring after” other gods.  Think for a moment of Jeremiah 3:6-11 wherein the people go up the mountains or under every tree like a prostitute.

It seems to me that we are dealing in this prayer with the time-hallowed warning of Christians to shun the three great temptations that corrupt the rational soul (mens) and pull it away from communion with the Holy Trinity.

The three contaminations are mundus, caro et diabolus, “the world, the flesh, and the devil”.

A solid reference to the trio is found in a sermon of a pseudo-Augustine, but it becomes a solid reference in late-antique and medieval spiritual thought.  The influential theologian Peter Abelard (+1142) puts it succinctly in his Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer: “Tria autem sunt quae nos tentant, caro, mundus, diabolus… For there are three things which try us: the world, the flesh, the devil” (Petitio vi).  St. Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) speaks of this deadly trio, as does St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274).  It is no surprise that the post-Tridentine Missale would include this prayer, for this was part of the warp and weft of Catholic spirituality.  The Sixth Session of the Council of Trent wrote, with heavy reliance on St. Paul, in its 1547 Decree on Justification about perseverance:

He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved, (Matt 10:22; 24:13) which cannot be obtained from anyone except from Him who is able to make him stand who stands, (Rom 14:4) that he may stand perseveringly, and to raise him who falls, let no one promise himself herein something as certain with an absolute certainty, though all ought to place and repose the firmest hope in God’s help.  For God, unless men themselves fail in His grace, as He has begun a good work, so will He perfect it, working to will and to accomplish. (Phil 1:6, 2:13)  Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, (cf. 1 Cor 10:12) and with fear and trembling work out their salvation, (Phil 2:12) in labors, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayer, in fastings and chastity. For knowing that they are born again unto the hope of glory, ( cf. 1 Pet 1:3) and not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat that yet remains with the flesh, with the world and with the devil, in which they cannot be victorious unless they be with the grace of God obedient to the Apostle who says: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. (Rom 8:12ff)

The language, and therefore the concepts, of those formative ages of our Catholic faith and spirituality are very much at risk today.  But it is being recovered and reconsidered, especially in the wake of Pope Benedict’s efforts to reinvigorate our Catholic identity in continuity with our profound past.

It is unfashionable in many circles to speak things so distasteful as the sort of temptation to which you can’t, with just a sly wink and hint of naughty struggle, simply give into along with everyone else.   To remind people of sin, guilt, and their eternal consequences is now rude, especially from pulpits in many parishes and cathedrals.  If you speak of the devil and sinful temptations, and the contamination of the soul – as if it isn’t always and automatically pure – you are considered a throwback to an era before modern man grew up.

No longer do we grovel!  The old bogey-devil won’t drive us down to our knees!  (But then neither does the Blessed Sacrament.)  How feudal!

I choose what my boundaries are.  I choose when to receive Communion, with our without reference to the “official” church.

As a consequence, what sense does it make in some circles now to speak of “perseverance”?  When we are our gods, what sense does it make to speak of all these distasteful, out-dated categories with which shriveled up old men tried to scare us, as a wicked uncles might terrify mere children?

I respond saying that the Enemy of the soul seeks our destruction.  He seeks to thwart God’s design and our own best destiny of bliss in heaven by guiding us away from the only God down into false gods, created things. The Enemy seeks to accompany us, lead us, delicately into the ways of the world of which he is the prince, tempt us in our appetites and passions, so hard to control after the Fall he originally provoked, draw you into infidelity.

And for what?

In his eternal sickness of angelic malice Satan yearns to crow over your fallen soul, damned to eternal separation from God in hell and amidst the unending agony to boom heavenwards in a twisted oration: “Here’s another victory You will now not have!”

Each day sets choices before us.  Most of the time they are rather simple, even black and white. Only rarely are we ever truly at a loss as to what is right or what is the wrong thing to do.  Our habits and passions make our choices more difficult, as does the wound to our intellect.

But Holy Church gives us the guidance of authority, which steers our still marvelous ability to reason.  We have not just intellect, but our Faith as well.  We are not alone, but God gives us graces.

Today’s prayer gives us insight in an important dimension of our lives: contamination in sin v. purity with God – avoidance of sin and the Enemy v. association with God.


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Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 7 Comments

MS-13 gang recruiting among illegals flooding across the border

From Fox:

Border agents say violent MS-13 recruiting at Arizona facility for new Central American arrivals

MS-13 members are infiltrating a federal facility for Central American youths illegally entering the United States — trying to cross the border with criminal pasts and recruiting others to join the notoriously violent, California-based gang, sources tell Fox News.

Shawn Moran, of the National Border Patrol Council, said the gang leaders are recruiting pre-teens, as they typically do, and following the lead of drug cartels also trying to fill their ranks from among the estimated 57,000 unaccompanied youths and others who have come to the U.S. from Central America in roughly the past nine months.

He said agents have witnessed the recruiting at the Border Patrol’s facility in Nogales, Ariz., and that gang members are using a Red Cross phone bank there to “recruit, enlist and pressure” others illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.


Texas state GOP Sen. Dan Patrick said earlier this week that roughly 100,000 illegally immigrants living in his state are gang members.

Sounds like it could be readily accessed “army” were some organization need to have muscle or some well-timed chaos in the streets, or even at polling places.

Posted in Pò sì jiù, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Will IRS monitor content of sermons? Do they now?

From Life News:

IRS Strikes Deal With Atheist Group to Monitor Content of Sermons

The next time your pastor delivers a pro-life sermon or urges the congregation to stand up for pro-life values in the political or public arena, he could be taken to task by the IRS.

Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday to release all documents related to its recent decision to settle a lawsuit with an atheist group that claims the IRS has adopted new protocols and procedures for the investigation of churches.

ADF submitted the Freedom of Information Act request after learning of the IRS’s agreement with Freedom From Religion Foundation in a press release the group issued on July 17 concerning its lawsuit Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, which accused the agency of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like.

“Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the IRS should know this in light of its recent scandals involving the investigation of conservative groups,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “We are asking the IRS to disclose the new protocols and procedures it apparently adopted for determining whether to investigate churches. What it intends to do to churches must be brought into the light of day.”

The IRS claims it is temporarily withholding investigations of all tax-exempt entities because of congressional scrutiny of its recent scandals, but no one knows when it will decide to restart investigations based on any new or modified rules that it develops.


Read the rest there.

Posted in Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

My View For Awhile: 77 square mile edition

The zoo like boarding process is underway.


And so I settle in for a few (hopefully) boring hours to my connecting flight.


I am reading American Sniper on this leg.

It was a great conference experience. I met lots of great new people and renewed others. I also used Zipcar for the first time. The jury is still out on that.


Phase 2: I hope I remember where my car is parked.


I have by now read my guy (in the book, course) into that garden spot Fallujah. Blech.

Posted in On the road, SESSIUNCULA, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 4 Comments

How many children have died in Hamas’ tunnels?

Did you know about this?

From the Institute for Palestinian Studies:

Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege


A similarly cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities damaged the movement’s standing with human-rights groups, despite government assurances dating back to 2008 that it was considering curbs. During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials. Safety controls on imports appear similarly lax, although the TAC insists that a sixteen-man contingent carries out sporadic spot-checks.


Posted in The Drill, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ASK FATHER: Why don’t bishops wear cassocks?

From a reader:

I am wondering why most modern bishops just wear a clerical suit?  Why do they very rarely wear the cassock with the proper color trim?  We almost never see eastern rite or even the orthodox out in public in “clerical suits”.  Could part of the reason that people don’t listen to their Bishops is that the Bishops choose not to wear the dress that is official to them?  The “clerical suit” is worn by almost all protestant ministers and if you were to put them all in a room with a Catholic Bishop wearing a clerical suit I bet the common man who doesn’t know his Bishop would not be able to point out his Bishop.

Do ever see a return to Bishops looking like Bishops when they are out in public?  Would it provide more of an impact if Bishops wore their official dress when addressing assemblies?  If part of the outward symbol of a Bishop is his dress, then why would he choose to not employ it?

First, I am glad you are concerned about decorum.  I have no doubt that you are always exactly properly dressed according to everyone else’s expectations in each and every circumstance.

Next, I limit myself to custom in these United States.

It was, and still is, not the custom for secular, diocesan priests and bishops in these USA to wear the cassock as “street attire”.  Yes, some young pups are wearing the cassock all the time, when they go about town.  Fine.  Perhaps they will establish a new practice.  However, the usual practice in these USA go back to the Councils of Baltimore, which forbade clerics from using the cassock as dress attire, imposing instead secular dress but with a clerical collar.  For a long while the standard was the frock coat, which we don’t see much of anymore.   Today, standard street dress for the diocesan cleric is the black suit.  Of course the cassock is always appropriate for anything liturgical and when the cleric is in his assigned place, such as a school or hospital.

Another point, for bishops at least, is practical.  These days, most (I think) bishops drive themselves about.  I think that is imprudent, but – hey! – they don’t ask me about such things.  Say His Nibs is in a cassock and something happens along the way.  He’s in his cassock, which might not be the best attire at the moment.  I am speculating at this point, but that could have something to do with it.

Lastly, I have to say that clerical decorum has nearly completely broken down.  All you have to do is look at a group of concelebrants.  There are hardly two vested similarly when it comes to alb, cincture.  Let’s not even talk about proper choir dress.  What a disaster that is.  They enter and exit in their white gunny sacks looking like the end of the shift at the Tasty Bakery.  It strikes me that most priests and bishops of a certain age haven’t a clue about how to dress.   Furthermore, they would say, “Oh, I don’t go in for all that stuff!”, as if they are somehow to be thought humble.  I don’t see any virtue in adopting a stance of contempt for your proper dress or vestments or uniform.  Humility submits to decorum.  Putting on the gear, and putting it on correctly, shows respect for the office and role you hold.  It shows respect for the people you encounter.   They don’t want to see their bishops and priests slouching about in shapeless white bags or looking like a hotel clerk.

You, however, are also reacting to photos I posted of a conference I attended.  There were quite a few bishops there.  They were in black suits.  This was at a hotel/resort.  It was a secular setting, not a church.  The prelates used cassocks for liturgies (Mass and office and Benediction).  Religious priests quite properly wore their habits, according to their customs.  Diocesan priests were in black suits.

Were there to have been a truly formal moment, such as a black tie evening event, then the diocesan clerics would have been properly dressed in a house cassock appropriate for their status, with the proper fascia, and a ferraioulo.  Mine would be black, a bishop’s violet or paonazza, a cardinal’s porpora sacra.

So, that’s it in a nutshell.  We are in a transition period.  I think that the customs will change for the better, but it will take time.  In the meantime, in these USA, don’t look down on a priest who wears the black suit and Roman collar when out and about in public.  That’s the custom for the diocesan clerics if this country.

And, yes, it is my hope that cleric decorum improves.  And, yes, I would like to see more bishops in their proper gear more often.  I think we see this as the Biological Solution keeps working us all over.

Posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

October Rome Pilgrimage – Summorum Pontificum

John Sonnen, who is from my native place, lived in Rome for a long time and was a tour guide there.  He is also staunchly traditional.  He now has a tour company that will be doing a pilgrimage to Rome in October (the best time of year in Rome, btw) to coincide with the annual Summorum Pontificum event, a Pontifical Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.  He sent me some details.  I’ll just include them as bullet points:

  • In conjunction with the 7th anniversary of SP.
  • 11-day itinerary.
  • All inclusive or land-only package.
  • Deadline for registration: August 1.
  • Deposit of $1,000 required to register.
  • This tour will not be repeated. Once in a lifetime.
  • Inclusions:
  • Round-trip air transportation from NYC to Rome – direct.
  • 9 nights accommodation at 4-Star Hotel Ponte Sisto, where the young Fr. Wojtyla stayed upon arrival in Rome in 1946. [Right next to the FSSP parish in Rome!]
  • All breakfasts, two lunches, and four exquisite Roman dinners served with local wine.
  • Complete sightseeing program which includes excellent local guides and tour escort.
  • Private guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
  • Private guided tour of the “Scavi” to explore the excavations below St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Private guided tour of the Catacomb of Priscilla, which contains the oldest known Marian paintings.
  • Private tour of ancient Rome to see Colosseum and Roman Forum.
  • Deluxe motor coach for airport transfers and sightseeing.
  • One day excursion to Orvieto to see the Eucharistic miracle of 1263, the “Corporal of Bolsena.”
  • Two opportunities to see the Pope: the papal General Audience on Wednesday and the traditional Sunday Angelus.
  • Daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees according to itinerary.

More info HERE

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

WDTPRS 17 Ordinary Sunday: There is no room in Christian life for complacency.

Our Collect for the 17th Ordinary Sunday has roots in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary for the month of July and, with variations, is in the Extraordinary Form on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost.  After some digging I determined that the Ordinary Form version was edited back to the more ancient version of the prayer.

Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur, ut iam possimus inhaerere mansuris.

I like the pleasant “m” hum in the first part. Note the spiffy pairings with their asyndeton, “nihil validum, nihil sanctum” and “te rectore, te duce” (exemplary ablative absolutes).

Protector (from protego) meaning fundamentally “to cover before, or in front, cover over” and obviously also “to shield from danger” as well as things like “put a protecting roof over”.  A protector is a “lifeguard, bodyguard”.  Inhaereo means “to stick in or to, cleave to, inhere in”.  Inhaereo, construed with either dative or ablative, is stuck to mansuris, the future participle from maneo, “to remain, last, endure, continue”.   St Augustine of Hippo (+ 430) used a similar combination of words in a sermon about love of God and love of the world (s. 344.2).


O God, protector of those believing in you, without whom nothing is efficacious, nothing holy, multiply upon us Your mercy, so that, You being our helmsman, our commander, we may so make use of things that pass away as to be able to cleave to those that will endure.


God our Father and protector, without you nothing is holy, nothing has value. Guide us to everlasting life by helping us to use wisely the blessings you have given to the world.


O God, protector of those who hope in you, without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance your mercy upon us and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure.

Last week we prayed about vigilant or watchful restraint or guarding (“vigili custodia”) and said “super eos dona multiplica … multiply gifts (of grace) upon/over them (us)”.  This week the priest asks God to “multiply mercy upon us … multiplica super nos misericordiam”.  In both prayers we have the image God covering us over (super). Last week it was with the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity).  This week it is with mercy, though vigilance still rings like a claxon through the prayer.

We are members of a Church Militant. Never forget it!  There is no room in the Christian life for complacency.  Don’t soften into spiritual acedia by the coos and lullabies of those who deny the existence of evil and of the Devil and of personal sin.  Give them no ear.

Some people today think that evil, if “evil” isn’t merely a difference of point of view, can be reduced to mere social ills which stem from a lack of diversity and tolerance.

That is a deception of the Devil.

All societal ills take root from the foul seeds of our personal sins of commission and omission. When people do not believe in the Devil and in personal sin, then the Enemy has already won.   Satan and the fallen angels desire our everlasting damnation in Hell in the agony of separation from God.  They are powerful, relentless, cunning, merciless.

This world has its demonic prince (cf John 14:30), but Jesus is our King, our great Captain (dux) in our marches and battles.  Christ Jesus has broken Hell’s power over us once and for all.  For a time yet, we are still in this world.  The Devil still dominates it, but only to the extent that our loving God permits in His providence.

We are soldiers traveling through enemy territory.  We need a sure leader before us and strong shield beside us.  We need good path beneath us, and protection over us when we rest.  God must multiply over us everything we need, simply that we may live.  God’s graces, our wits, and the authority of Holy Church all tell us what is safe and holy, what is a trap and evil.

May God make us sticky (inherere) for things that endure forever, rather than clingy for what is under the sway of this world’s prince, the liar and “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Beg for demon-Kevlar, if you will, so the Enemy cannot penetrate our minds and hearts with temptations and doubts. Ask for God’s shielding protection, sin-Teflon, so that the passing things of this world can’t stick to us, distract us, hold us back from heaven.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

There’s wreckovation, and then there is this.

In Iraq, ISIS is bulldozing churches and turned the Cathedral of Mosul into a mosque.   Meanwhile, many thousands of miles away…

… in the National Post:

What’s happening to Montreal’s churches? Quebec finding new ways to preserve its heritage in a secular age

MONTREAL — Weight machines fill the space where once there were pews, and visitors sip nutritional green smoothies, not communion wine. But despite its dramatic transformation into a private gym and spa, the onetime Dominican St. Jude’s Shrine on Montreal’s St. Denis Street remains a temple of sorts.

“It becomes almost a religion for some people,” Sonya Audrey Bonin, general manager of the Saint-Jude Espace Tonus gym, said this week. “I see it with yoga, with taking care of yourself, being careful about what you eat, having a healthy lifestyle.” And in a secular age when people are more likely to hit the gym than attend mass on a Sunday morning, the upscale facility is being hailed as a model for preserving the religious buildings that constitute an important part of Quebec’s architectural heritage.


When the council did an inventory in 2003, it identified 2,751 places of worship in the province, the vast majority of them Catholic churches. Since then, about 400 have closed, and Mr. Boucher said the rhythm is accelerating. “A church closes every week. It is a huge phenomenon,” he said. “Everyone needs to make a compromise so the buildings find a useful life in society and continue to convey their historical significance.”


Read the rest there.

Some of the pics:

Posted in New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

Pope Francis and the Evangelicals

I just read Sandro Magister’s background piece on the Holy Father’s visit to Caserta.  Did you read it?  HERE

I want to preface this with a reminder that Popes meet with all sorts.  Even as I scratch my head about Pope Francis meeting with Joel Olsteen, I remind myself that Paul VI met with Idi Amin Dada.  St. John Paul met with Yasser Arafat.  Popes meet with all sorts. That’s what Popes do.

ROME, July 23, 2014 – When the news got out, and was confirmed by Fr. Federico Lombardi, that Pope Francis intended to make a private visit to Caserta to meet with a friend, the pastor of a local Evangelical community, the city’s bishop, Giovanni D’Alise, was thunderstruck. He hadn’t been told a thing.

Moreover, the pope had planned his visit to Caserta for the same day as the feast of Saint Anne, the city’s patron. Seeing themselves snubbed, some of the faithful threatened an uprising. It took a good week to convince the pope to change his schedule and divide the trip into two phases: the first a public one with the faithful of Caserta on Saturday, July 26, and the second in private with his Evangelical friend on the following Monday.


The meeting with [evangelical] Pastor Traettino in Caserta is not, in fact, an isolated episode, but part of a broader effort that Pope Francis is making to win the favor of the worldwide leaders of those “Evangelical” and Pentecostal movements which especially in Latin America are the most fearsome competitor of the Catholic Church, from which they are snatching enormous masses of faithful. [The Church is bleeding out there.]


Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).  [Yep.]

Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.

Instead – according to what “ambassador” Stiller reported – the pope assured them: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

But he also told them that he had learned from his friendship with Pastor Traettino that the Catholic Church, with its imposing presence, acts too much as an obstacle to the growth and witness of these communities. And for this reason as well he thought of visiting the Pentecostal community in Caserta: “to offer an apology for the difficulty brought to their congregation.”


Read the rest there.

Moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis | Tagged , , | 46 Comments