DC March for Life 2018 – DAY 2: Forward MARCH!

Today before the rally on the mall we grabbed some sandwiches at a nearby cafe and headed out.

Perfect weather.

We parked ourselves near the speakers stand, but also near to a flag from my native place.

It was great to hear Pres. Trump address the crowd.  It was a good, long speech, too.  Not just a quick greeting.


During the President’s talk, I noticed two American Bald Eagles circling, a fact that made my friends from Rome rather pleased.  After all, the appearance of eagles at a public event of this magnitude.

Alas, it was hard to get them through the branches.

A sign along the march.

The crowds for the march are always vast.  Today, however, I had the feeling that they were beyond what I had seen before.

My friend Fr. Pasley!

This was different.

So that was the march.  It was a wonderful, recharging experience.

Later I walked to Old St. Mary’s for the Mass, but I made sure to walk through the Law Enforcement Memorial.

Old St. Mary’s.  JAMMED.

I saw so many wonderful people after the Mass.  Many old friends said hello and quite a few readers.

Then… off to supper.  Friday, so no flesh.

Afterwards… which is mine?  Hint, all three contain Pappy Van Winkle.

A wonderful day.

Tomorrow, home again.

QUAERITUR: Will the government shut down affect travel?

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DC March for Life 2018 – DAY 1: Paintings and plots

It is a whirlwind jump to DC, but one of my main reasons for coming this year was also to see the exhibition of Vermeer and other Dutch genre painters at the National Gallery.   It did not disappoint.

His paintings are on the small side, but they have great details.

We didn’t have a lot of time in the gallery after the extensive exhibit, but there was a space for some of the great Medieval pieces.

Here is one with a Christological Goldfinch but… differently.   The Christ Child has not yet grabbed hold of the critter, which is being offered by an angel.

The goldfinch in these paintings is a symbol of the Passion, a foreshadowing.   The European Goldfinch has a spray of red feathers on its head.  Legend says that the finch tried to give comfort to the Lord on the Cross by pulling thorns from His head.  In doing so, the finch’s head was colored with the Lord’s Blood, which remained ever after.

I like to think that this angel is the angel of the Passion that came to comfort Christ in the garden before His betrayal.

The Capitol Building is all spiffed up and clean.

In the evening, supper with friends.

Which drink is mine?

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Canonist Ed Peters on the Papal mid-air airplane nuptials

From canonist Ed Peters comes a post.  I wrote about it, HERE.   There are some striking parallels.  I wonder why?

Any way…

Thoughts on a mid-air marriage

Show of hands! Who wants to rain all over the sentimental parade lining up behind (what is being presented as) the pope’s facilitation of married love? Anyone? Anyone?

I thought not. Oh well.

Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of canonical form for marriage (cc. 1108, 1117)—a cure that has far outlived the malady (clandestine marriage) it was designed to treat—but canonical form is still law for Catholics and that law goes to the validity of Catholic marriage. Based on the reports offered here and here, I cannot tell whether the ‘wedding’ that the pope put together for an unsuspecting couple satisfies Church requirements on marriage, and several other laws impacting the liceity of marriage seem simply to have been disregarded in the event. As happened several times under earlier administrations, a representative from the Vatican Press Office assures us that “everything was valid”. Such assertions by canonically unqualified and unauthorized PR staff carry, of course, no weight. Real questions worthy of real answers are still raised by this event.

Before getting into details, however, let me say that I am sorry for Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi, two perfectly pleasant flight attendants who paid a courtesy call on their celebrity guest and, next thing they know, their names, faces, and rather odd marriage history are being broadcast to the world. They did not ask for a wedding and were astonished when Pope Francis suggested it. This was not their idea.

Now, about the matter itself.

Popes have jurisdiction for the external forum anywhere on earth (cc. 134, 331, 1108), so Francis can officiate at a wedding anywhere, anytime.

But officiating at a wedding means something specific: it means asking for and receiving the consent of the contracting parties to marrying each each other (c. 1108) here and now. Per the Rite of Matrimony consent is sought from each party individually and must be oriented to marrying the other party at this time; the request is not posed as a joint question to the couple about being married, akin to, ‘do you two want to be married?’, but rather is framed ‘do you marry him/her?’ at this point in time. If consent (the heart of marriage per c. 1057) is not adequately asked for and received, it is not exchanged, and such a couple would not be married [NB] (and, No, ‘Ecclesia suppletcannot make up for a failure in what is actually sacramental—as opposed to canonical—form). The above reports mention, as far as I can see, [Alas, we don’t know what really happened.] only the pope’s broaching the topic of marriage by asking the couple whether they wanted to be married, placing their hands together, saying a few inspirational words about marriage, and pronouncing them husband and wife. But such a sequence describes, not at all, a present exchange of consent by the parties. Let us hope, then, that in the actual event considerably more was said than has been reported.

Second, canonical form demands two independent actual witnesses to the exchange of consent, meaning that five persons must be immediately present for the wedding—not folks who heard about it a few minutes later, or who saw something happening and wondered, hey, what’s going on back there?—but five persons acting together and at the same time: a bride, a groom, an officiant, and two other actual witnesses. While reports are unclear as to how many people actually witnessed this event, and while this photo shows four people in the event (plus a camera man?) and four signatures on a document, another photo shows five names on the marriage document, so one may presume (c. 1541) accordingly.

Third, several canons impacting the liceity of weddings (norms on ‘liceity’ often being regarded as wink-wink rules in Church life, especially when higher-ups model the wink-winking) were apparently ignored here, including: the requirement for [NB] serious pastoral preparation prior to a wedding [Not ever omitted by a loving and merciful pastor…] (c. 1063), administration of Confirmation before Matrimony (c. 1065), urging of Penance and holy Communion before a wedding (c. 1065), verification that no obstacles to validity or liceity are in place (c. 1066), securing evidence of the contractants’ freedom to marry (c. 1068) upon pain of acting illicitly without it (c. 1114), an expectation that Catholic weddings be celebrated in a parish church (cc. 1115, 1118), and making use of the Church’s treasury of liturgical books for celebration of the sacramental rite (c. 1119).

As this story reverberates ‘round the world, now, deacons, priests, and bishops who try to uphold Church norms fostering values such as deliberate marriage preparation, an ecclesial context for a Catholic wedding, and the use of established and reliable texts for expressing consent will, undoubtedly, have the Podest-Ciuffardi wedding tossed in their face as evidence that, if Pope Francis does not insist on such legalistic silliness and only cares about whether two people love [Luuhv.] one another, why shouldn’t they do likewise? The ministry of conscientious clergy in this regard just got harder.

As mentioned above, I would be happy to see the requirement of canonical form for marriage eliminated, this, for several reasons, one of which is that—long story omitted—we could actually make higher demands of Catholics who want to marry before our clergy than we can currently demand. But the pope’s example of a spontaneous, zero-preparation, wedding is not at all what I and like-minded others have in mind. This couple undoubtedly gave more thought and attention to what they did by civilly marrying before a magistrate back in 2010 than they could have possibly given to what the pope suggested to them, on a few seconds’ notice, while at work, high above the Andes mountains.

If I have to say it, I will: I hope Podest and Ciuffardi are married and that they live happily ever after, but I worry whenever momentous life decisions are taken on a minute’s notice and under circumstances bound to contribute to one’s being carried away by events.

The pope has opined, apparently more than once, that “half of all sacramental marriages are null”. Here’s hoping that Podest and Ciuffardi beat those odds.

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The Pope marries a couple on the papal airplane. Hmmm.

I fairly dread papal trips these days. You never know what is going to happen on the papal airplane. Will there be another presser in which the Holy Father will say something like, “Who am I to judge?” That was a gift – now perpetually taken out of context and abused – that keeps on giving.

I read at Crux that the Holy Father married (witnessed the marriage) of a steward and stewardess on the papal airplane – during the flight.

Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciufardi, 41, have been together for over ten years. They met in the air, where she was his boss as a flight attendant for LATAM, Chile’s flagship airline.
They have been civilly married since 2010. Days before they were scheduled to have their church wedding, an earthquake destroyed the church where they were supposed to marry.  [According to the Daily Mail, that was 8 years ago.  8 years… and they haven’t married in church?  I suppose they had marriage prep.  Also, in the case of an earthquake, the church building isn’t a sine qua non for getting married.  It is sad that they couldn’t get marriage in that church, but… marriage is the really important part of the equation, not the building or photos.]
On Thursday, as they were posing with Francis and the rest of the crew for the official picture, Francis asked them if they were married in the Church. They told him no, and the pontiff immediately took charge, asking them if they wanted him to marry them, and they agreed.

The newlyweds shared the conversation they had with the pontiff with the journalists, with Podest acknowledging that she was “still in shock,” so he did most of the talking, even though, from what they told journalists, “she’s still the boss in the house,” as she was at the airline when they met.
“It was historic,” the pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
“He asked us if we were married, I said no because of the earthquake, and he said, ‘well, I’ll marry you’,” according to Ciufardi.
The spouses asked the pontiff if he was certain about marrying them on the plane, asking him “are you sure?”

When the pope asked for a witness, they tapped the CEO of the airline, and to make sure there was no doubt over the validity of the sacrament, the pope “asked the cardinals who were with him” to draft the license, which they did. The document is handmade, signed by one of the cardinals, also a witness.
“He held our hands, blessed the rings, and he married us in the name of God,” Ciufardi said.
“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married’,” Ciufardi said.
Speaking about the rings, Francis said that they shouldn’t be either too tight, because “they would be a torture,” or too loose, or else they might risk misplacing them.

These days there are controversies over the meaning of marriage.  These days, fewer and fewer couples are marrying.

For example, if a couple who are in an adulterous relationship because at least on party divorced his true spouse and then civilly marries another woman – without the church giving a declaration of nullity concerning his first, true marriage, can that remarried, adulterous couple be admitted to Holy Communion, even though they haven’t made any commitment to live chaste lives? Some say, “Yes!”, and, by doing so, they call into question the very meaning of matrimony and also the Eucharist.

At the very least, they make a mockery of matrimony, trivialize it.

I trust that this well-intentioned gesture by Pope Francis isn’t taken merely to be some sort of stunt, which the badly-motivated will utilize to trivialize the sacrament of matrimony even more than is is being trivialized today.

Another thing: may this couple stay together!  It would be… not so great were they to split up after this rather dramatic aerial display.  Headline: Papal midair marriage crashes!

I can’t say that I like the whole airplane thing.   The Pope makes his calls.  Who am I to judge?

Can we put sentimentality aside for a moment?   Gestures like this have consequences.  This wasn’t some odd priest on an airplane, it was the Vicar of Christ.

Again, this is all very huggy and warm and fuzzy.  But let’s think about this.

I wasn’t there, of course, but I think it could have been a good idea to make sure they knew what matrimony is really all about.   That’s what marriage preparation is for.  They’ve been civilly but not sacramentally married for 8 years.   All this time they didn’t seek the sacrament?  What’s that about?   Maybe the Pope got their story.

When a priest marries a couple, he should be reasonably sure that they know what they are getting into.  He can be fairly sure if they had some kind of marriage prep, done by himself or by another priest, etc.  You have to know before you witness the marriage of couple – if they are going to enter into this sacramental bond – whether or not they have the right intentions.   Does the couple – I’m speaking generically now – any couple – intend to remain together for life?   Do they intend for their bond to be exclusive?   Do they intend to accept the gift of children?

Also, the sacrament of matrimony is one of the “sacraments of the living”.  It should be received in the state of grace, after a good examination of conscience and confession.   Not by “surprise”, as it were.

Moreover, you have to ascertain if they are both free to marry, having no previous bond that the Church had to examine.  I imagine that, before tying their knot the Holy Father asked them about these things.  Right?   He was a diocesan bishop.  He knows about these things.

The Pope can dispense immediately anything that can be dispensed.  But if there is a previous bond… nope.  And an airplane isn’t the place to deal with Pauline or Petrine Privilege.   Get that wrong when you are Pope and problems result.

Sure, this on-the-spot – well…it was “on-the-spot” only relatively speaking – marriage took care of one instance of a couple living together. There are a lot more out there.

I wonder if the on-the-spot thing won’t spur odd situations:

“The Pope married someone on an airplane!   Why won’t you, Father, marry us right now here at the zoo?”

What do you want to bet that sort of thing will pop up for priests after this?

I hope that this no doubt well-intentioned gesture by the Holy Father won’t also wind up being one of those gifts that keep on giving, but not in a good way.

Anyway, I wish that couple a holy and happy life.

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Posted in Canon Law, Look! Up in the sky!, One Man & One Woman | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Big Business Is WATCHING!

Two stories.  Both alarming.

First, apparently the group which secreted cameras and caught out Big Business Abortion (aka Planned Parenthood) has stung Twitter.  HERE

HIDDEN CAMERA: HUNDREDS of Twitter employees paid to view, mine your PERSONAL, PRIVATE posts

NB: Not all the language in that story is pious.

Next, Amazon has a gizmo with sensitive microphones and cameras which can pick up just about everything. It’s at the Daily Mail.  I won’t connect to that just now.

Amazon’s creepy plan to put a camera and microphone in every BEDROOM with launch of its £120 Echo Spot ‘smart alarm’

  • The latest edition to the tech giant’s family of devices is powered by Alexa

  • Each device has a camera and microphone for making video calls

  • The camera will probably be facing directly at the user’s bed

  • The Echo Spot, which will cost £119.99 ($129) will be shipped on 24th January [It’s already out in these USA]

I won’t have one of those damn things in my dwelling!

I also cover cams and detach things with mics.  And then there’s my phone.  There are things that can be done.

For pity’s sake, there are so many ways by which big biz or gu’mint can intrude.

It’s getting ridiculous.

In any event, be careful people.

And remember: If you put it on the internet in some way, there’s no getting it back.  Don’t be stupid.  Think.

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My View For Awhile: March For Life 2018 Edition

I’m off to the nation’s capital, where at least one good thing will be accomplished on Friday: the 2018 March For Life.

Among other events, I will probably attend the TLM at St. Mary’s and the customary meet up afterward across the way.

And, Delta is up to its antics…

Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, weather forecasts look promising.


Okay, they keep pushing back our flight to DCA, but now the culprit is unmasked and the end is in sight.


I just read that Pres. Trump will address the March via video feed. Too bad he isn’t coming in person. However, it’s a first. HERE


The flight from BOS arrived. So they are getting off at the time we ought to be boarding. Delays and delays.

Now I’ll watch for bag alerts.

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“The Triumph of Marcantonio Colonna” described

The Laudator, whom I check often – I add some of his pithier quotes to my commonplace book – has a fascinating entry with descriptions of the Triumph given to Marcantonio Colonna after his victory at Lepanto.  It makes for great reading.

Maracant… where I have heard that name recently?

The first description is from a spiffy book which I have recommended for years about the painter Caravaggio.  Langdon treats well the spirituality underlying his work:

Helen Langdon, Caravaggio: A Life (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), p. 9:  [US HERE – UK HERE]

On 4 December 1571 an enormous theatrical triumph was staged in Rome. Its hero was Marcantonio Colonna, scion of one of the most illustrious of all Roman families, and commander of the papal galleys in the triumph of the Holy League over the Turks at Lepanto. He progressed from the church of San Sebastiano, on the Appian Way, passing the Baths of Caracalla, and under the triumphal arches of Constantine and Titus, to the monastery of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, built on the holiest site of the Capitol, at the very centre of the old Roman Empire.

Colonna rode, unarmed, on a white horse. He was escorted by a glittering cortège of five thousand people, and 170 liveried and chained Turkish prisoners were driven before him. Before them the standard of the sultan was trailed in the dust. The procession pressed forward through tumultuous applause. ‘Here from every part’, wrote an observer, ‘his name rang out. Everyone rushed to the street, clapping their hands. Crowds of people thronged together, crying out, while trumpets serenaded him. He was greeted from far and near, by people gesturing, shouting, waving caps and banner’. Ringed by twenty-five Cardinals, Colonna crossed the Tiber at the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, and then rode to St Peter’s and the Vatican Palace, where Pope Pius V received him in the Sala Regia.

His progress was modelled on the triumphs that were granted to generals in ancient Rome and it drew on the splendour of ancient myth. Yet it was also an intensely Christian event. The façade of the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli was decorated with captured Turkish flags. It bore the proud inscription: `The gratitude which, in their pagan folly, the Ancients offered to their idols, the Christian conqueror, who ascends the Aracoeli, now gives, with pious devotion, to the true God, to Christ the Redeemer, and to His most glorious Mother’. Colonna seemed to bring the new promise of a more joyful Christian era.

Francesco Tramezzino, L’entrata solenne fatta dall’ecmo. Sigr. Marcantono Colonna in Roma doppo la felicissima vittoria havuta dall’armata Christiana contra Turchi (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 47.105.10). Click to enlarge.

Ludwig Pastor (1854-1928), The History of the Popes, Vol. XVIII, tr. Ralph Francis Kerr (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1929), pp. 431-433 (footnotes omitted):

All Rome was in a stir when the bright and sunny day of December 4th dawned. Thousands of people had gathered along the Via Appia, where, near the basilica of St. Sebastian, Girolamo Bonelli and the Swiss Guard, the Senator and the Conservatori, awaited the arrival of Colonna, who was to come from Marino. Unarmed, and with no decoration but the Golden Fleece, Marcantonio rode upon a white horse given him by the Pope; a black silk mantle lined with fur covered his tunic of cloth of gold, and on his head he wore a black velvet cap, with a white plume fastened with a pearl clasp.

Amid scenes of extraordinary rejoicing, the clash of trumpets, and the firing of guns, the cortège was formed, in which were to be seen the gaily coloured banners of all the city corporations, and the 13 Rioni of Rome. As can easily be understood, the chief interest was excited by the 170 Turkish prisoners, dressed in red and yellow, in chains, and guarded by halbardiers. In front of them rode a Roman in Turkish dress dragging the standard of the sultan in the dust. At the side of the prisoners walked a hermit, who had taken part in the battle, and whom the people, by whom he was greatly loved, called Fate bene per voi, from the words which he was always saying. The standard of the Church was borne by Romegasso, and that of the city of Rome by Giovan Giorgio Cesarini, with whom rode Pompeo Colonna and Onorato Caetani, and the two nephews of the Pope, Michele and Girolamo Bonelli; then came Marcantonio Colonna, who was rapturously acclaimed by all, and was followed by the Senator of Rome and the Conservatori, and a large number of his friends and comrades. The Papal light cavalry brought the procession to an end.

As Charles V. had done 35 years before, so Marcantonio Colonna, entering the city by the Porta S. Sebastiano, and passing the Baths of Caracalla, and under the triumphal arches of Constantine and Titus, chmbed the hill of the Capitol, and came to S. Marco, passing thence along the Via Papale to the Bridge of St. Angelo. On the way he came to the statue of Pasquino, which was gaily decorated; in the left hand was the head of a Turk, with blood pouring from the mouth, and in the right a drawn sword.  [Pasquino is still there!]

After praying in St. Peter’s at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, and offering, in allusion to his own name, a column of silver, Colonna proceeded to the Vatican, where the Pope received him, accompanied by 25 Cardinals, with the greatest honour. He exhorted the victor of Lepanto to give the glory to God, Who, despite our sins, had been so kind and merciful.

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ASK FATHER: Would anything prevent a priest from always using the traditional formula of absolution?

From a reader…


The reformed Rite of Penance added a whole bunch of stuff to the rite of confession—optional Scripture readings and so on—but I have never seen any of it used, even non-optional parts like how the priest should supposedly say “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” to me at the end. The only real difference in the old and new rite of penance seems to be in the words of absolution, and even at this point lots of priests seem to just say whatever they want anyway. [Idiots.]

I wonder: do you think there is anything in practice preventing a traditional-minded priest from unilaterally making every confession an Extraordinary Form confession?

Provided the priest has faculties to absolve, the priest can use the traditional form of absolution validly.

Is there something that might prevent him in practice?   If I stretch my imagination, I guess I could come up with something.

Perhaps were people suddenly to hear a different formula, a different language, some of them might be momentarily confused for a bit or puzzled.  Some might not immediately get the Latin.

However, if they are in the confessional, they are probably going to accept the Latin and the traditional form happily, especially if the priest says ahead of time that he is going to use the traditional form.

In all my years of absolving penitents – in Latin – I’ve never had a single person react badly.  Once in a while if I might tell a convert or revert or someone whom I suspect isn’t all that well-formed, what’ll happen so they aren’t surprised.  The confessional isn’t a place for big surprises.

I think that, when it comes right down to it, people are a) enormously relieved once they’ve made their confession and b) eager to receive validly absolution.

If Father starts rambling away or adding stuff or changing the form of absolution around… how does that put the penitent at ease?

But, if Father starts up in LATIN, the penitent is probably going to think that she’s getting The Genuine Article™.

However, Father should make sure through catechesis that everyone can rest assured that the newer form is valid.  By switching to the older form, he isn’t calling into question the validity of the newer form, in Latin or in the vernacular.

When it comes to the confessional, Father needs to avoid doing something weird.  Hence, he should let people in on what he is doing.  If he does that, I suspect that everything will be okay as far as the penitents are concerned.

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2 Feb – MADISON – Candlemas – Pontifical Mass at the Throne

Put this in your calendars.

Candlemas is coming up on 2 February.

His Excellency Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino will be the celebrant for this Pontifical Mass at the Throne.

The rites include the blessing of candles.

The music will be provided by a visiting choir, the Schola Cantorum from Eau Claire. They will sing, among other pieces, the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina.

A splendid new pipe organ was recently installed.  I am going to ask the organist to blow the roof off the place.

The Mass will begin at 6 PM at the chapel of Holy Name Heights (formerly the Bishop O’Connor Center).

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Card. Müller on authority of Popes, possibility of others correcting contradictory papal teachings

Back in December, First Things published a piece by the former Prefect of the CDF, Gerard Ludwig Card. Müller on the sacrament of penance. His observations on objective sin and subjective guilt, about knowledge, etc., are germane to a whole raft of questions being raised today, from the admission of the civilly remarried to Communion (some claim that with Amoris laetitia this is now permitted), to the celebration of funerals of manifest sinners (I wrote about that today in another post).

Today I see a new piece by Card. Müller in First Things about the Pope’s authority and teaching.

How do the pope’s Magisterium and the Tradition of the Church relate? When he interprets the words of Jesus, must the pope be in continuity with the Tradition and the previous Magisterium, including that of the most recent popes? Or is it rather the Church’s Tradition that has to be reinterpreted in the light of the pope’s new words? What if there are contradictions?

Really good questions.  Several Cardinals respectfully offered questions in this vein to the Pope about how certain aspects of Amoris laetitia seem to contradiction earlier, crystal clear teachings of Pope St. John Paul II.

Read the whole thing, but here is the last part…


What has been said above refers to the teaching of the Church, but also to the administration of her means of grace in the sacraments. In its Decree on Holy Communion, the Council of Trent declares that the Church has the power to determine or modify the external rites of the sacraments. [For example, after the Council a new form of the sacrament of Confirmation was introduced.] At the same time, the Council denies that the Church has the right or ability to interfere with the essence of the sacraments, insisting that “their substance is preserved.” [For example, the Church cannot say that rice cakes and sake can be used for the Eucharist.  No Pope can change that.] When the Council of Trent defines that there are three acts of the penitent that form part of the sacrament of penance (repentance with the resolve not to sin again, confession, and satisfaction), then the popes and bishops of subsequent ages, too, are bound by this declaration. [NB] They are not [NOT] free to grant sacramental absolution for sins, or to authorize their priests to do so, when penitents do not actually show signs of repentance or where they explicitly reject the resolve not to sin again. [No expression of sorrow for sin committed, no expression of firm purposes of amendment… no absolution.  It must not be given.] No human being can undo the inner contradiction between the effect of the sacrament—that is, the new communion of life with Christ in faith, hope, and love—and the penitent’s inadequate disposition. Not even the pope or a council can do so, because they lack the authority, nor could they ever receive such authority, because God never asks human beings to do something that is both self-contradictory and contrary to God himself.  [Those who do not have a firm purpose of amendment of their lives cannot be validly absolved and, hence, cannot be admitted to the Eucharist, which is to be received when the communicant knows she is not in the state of grace, and the minister must not administer when there is a PUBLIC manifestation of sin and probability of scandal.]

One must keep in mind that doctrinal statements have varying degrees of authority. They require varying degrees of consent, as expressed by the so-called “theological notes.” The acceptance of a teaching with “divine and Catholic faith” is required only for dogmatic definitions. [The controversial bits of Amoris are no where near that level. Nor are innovative interpretations of those controversial bits.] It is also clear that the pope or bishops must never ask anyone to act or teach against the natural moral law. The obedience of the faithful toward their ecclesial superiors is therefore no absolute obedience, and the superior cannot demand absolute obedience, because both the superior and those entrusted to his or her authority are brothers and sisters of the same Father, and they are disciples of the same Master. Therefore, it is harder to teach than to learn, because teaching is associated with a greater responsibility before God. The affirmation “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) has its validity also and especially in the Church. Against the principle of absolute obedience prevailing in the Prussian military state, the German bishops insisted before Bismarck: “It is certainly not the Catholic Church that has embraced the immoral and despotic principle that the command of a superior frees one unconditionally from all personal responsibility.” [Earlier, Müller had introduced his topic with a review of Bismark and the Kulturkampf and the reaction to the Church’s teaching about papal infallibility.]

[NB] When private opinions or spiritual and moral limitations enter into the exercise of ecclesiastical authority, then sober and objective criticism as well as personal correction are called for, especially from the brothers in the episcopal office. Thomas Aquinas will not be suspected of relativizing Petrine primacy and the virtue of obedience. All the more elucidating is the way in which he interprets the incident in Antioch, culminating in Paul’s public correction of Peter (Gal 2:11). According to Aquinas, the event teaches us that under certain circumstances an apostle may have the right and even the duty to correct another apostle in a fraternal way, that even an inferior may have the right and duty to criticize the superior (cf. Commentary on Galatians, Chap. II, lecture 3). This does not mean that one may reduce the magisterium to a private opinion, so as to dispense oneself from the binding power of the authentic and defined teaching of the Church (cf. Lumen Gentium 37). It only means that one must understand well the precise meaning of authority in the Church in general and the role of Peter’s ministry in particular. This is especially true when the conflict does not arise between the pope’s teaching and one’s own vision, [HERE IT IS…] but between the pope’s teaching and a teaching of previous popes that is in accordance with the uninterrupted tradition of the Church[That’s it.  There is a seeming conflict between what Pope Francis taught in Amoris and what St. John Paul taught in Familiaris consortio, 84, Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 34, Sacramentum caritatis, 29, and Veritatis splendor, 56, 79 and 81, etc.]

As Pope Benedict XVI explained during the Mass on the occasion of his taking possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome on 7 May 2005, “The power that Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors is, in an absolute sense, a mandate to serve. The power of teaching in the Church involves a commitment to the service of obedience to the faith.” He continues, “The pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: The pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.”

Thus, Card. Müller.


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ASK FATHER: If I remember a sin after confessing, should I interrupt the priest and tell him?

From a reader…


If in Confession I forget a mortal sin (I do examine my conscience but my memory is bad), but then remember AFTER having told the priest that I have finished confessing, and he is talking, should I interrupt him with my sin or be quiet? If I should interrupt, does that go also for remembering during the act of contrition, or during absolution?
Basically, how late can/should I interrupt?
I always end up leaving the confessional worrying that my Confession isn’t valid and it’s quite distressing…

I’d be very grateful if you could keep this anonymous! Thank you for your help.

I always try to anonymize!

If you remember some mortal sin, and if Father hasn’t given you absolution, then I think it is okay to interrupt and say that you remembered something.

If the sin you remember is merely venial, you don’t have to.

If, after receiving absolution, you can be assured that all your sins were forgiven.

I recommend not suddenly shouting, “WAIT! THERE’S MORE!”


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Slithery misdirection from the National Sodomitical Reporter: Bishops who avoid scandal commit scandal

The National Sodomitical Reporter (aka Fishwrap) is at it again with a particularly dreadful defense of sodomy.

While not most people will bother to read it (it’s really long and rather boring), it contains landmines.

From the title – and from its length – you know from the get go that the content that follows is going to be a slippery twisting of Catholic moral teaching:

The scandal may be in not holding funerals for gay spouses, theologians say

Written by … Michael G. Lawler is the emeritus Amelia and Emil Graff Professor of Catholic Theology at [Jesuit run] Creighton University.  He is married to a woman and has several children.  Todd A. Salzman is a professor of theology at Creighton University.

They are the co-authors of The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology. ([Jesuit run] Georgetown University Press).

BTW.. when you see the word “toward” in a title of an academic book, be on your guard.

Their sex book, was sharply criticized by the USCCB’s Doctrinal Committee chaired by then-Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC.  The committee issued a 24-page statement which faulted Lawler and Salzman for their treatment both of scripture and of natural law. Their approach, it said, represents “a radical departure from the Catholic theological tradition.”  Story in the Fishwrap.  

According to these guys, “nature” is a social construct.

And “the only thing Lawler and Salzman leave intact about natural law is the name.”

So, you can guess that this new Fishwrap piece is a full-throated defense of sodomy.

They do so through an attack on the Code of Canon Law, can. 1184 that requires the denial of funerals to manifest sinners unless they had shown some sign of repentance.

Can. 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics; []
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful[This would include homosexuals who publicly marry or who make known their relationship widely, etc.]
§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
Can. 1185 Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals.

They start with dog-whistle calls to attack against upholders of the law, Bp. Paprocki of Springfield and Bp. Morlino of Madison.

They proffer a long, distracting fan-dance about what scandal is, with definitions.  But they add:

“What is not clear, however, and what is not defined, is what constitutes scandal and how are claims of scandal to be justified.”

See what they are at?  “It’s not clear!”

Going on:

While the two bishops [Paprocki and Morlino] assert that permitting a church funeral for a deceased same-sex spouse would give scandal for seeming to condone same-sex relationships, other Catholics assert that denying a church funeral to a deceased same-sex spouse would give scandal for seeming to justify discrimination against homosexuals. Which claim to scandal is justified?  [Very clever.  They want you to buy that these view have equal standing.]

Scandal is a personal moral judgment that the immoral behavior or attitude of one person leads another to do evil, and is therefore, we suggest, in the eye of the beholder. We ask, however, are there any objective criteria for determining whether or not the beholder is making an accurate moral judgment of an attitude or behavior that would cause him scandal and lead him to do evil?

The assertion that an attitude or behavior would cause “public scandal” is precisely that, an assertion, not an ethical argument and, like any assertion of right or wrong, it needs to be justified by ethical argument. [As if everyone doesn’t know what the argument is.] In the following we argue, in three points, that there are ethical and canonical guidelines for justifying claims to scandal and, further, that public scandal in the case under consideration is more likely to be caused by the bishops’ attitude and behavior than with the permitting of a church funeral to a deceased same-sex spouse.

Here’s a good one about “attitude”:

The catechism’s definition of scandal rightly distinguishes between an attitude and a behavior. This is a common distinction made in Catholic theological ethics, between the goodness or badness of a moral agent, her attitude, disposition or character, and the rightness or wrongness of a behavior or act.  [Keep going.]

Why the distinction? Because an attitude and a behavior do not always coincide morally. The classic example is giving alms (a morally right behavior) for vainglory (a morally bad attitude). We morally evaluate behavior on how it impacts relationships and human dignity. [Would that they would admit that homosexual behavior violates human dignity.] In the case of almsgiving everything else being equal, it improves human dignity. The act, therefore, is right. Vainglory, however, is a morally bad attitude that, according to Thomas Aquinas, makes the act morally bad but does not necessarily make the behavior wrong. A bad attitude, being unmerciful or uncharitable, for instance, always makes a right or wrong behavior morally bad. A wrong behavior, however, engaging in a homosexual act, for instance, is not always morally bad if it is done with a good attitude.   [Uh huh.]

There’s more… watch the next step.

Behavior norms, however, though they may be absolute like the norm prohibiting homosexual behavior, [it just one of those “norms”] do not necessarily make a behavior morally bad. Depending on the attitude, as well as a well-informed conscience, a wrong behavior may not be morally bad and may even be morally good. If the behavior is not morally bad, it follows that there is no grave sin and, therefore, no legitimate public scandal.

See?  Wasn’t that easy?   And they tossed that “well-informed conscience” as it it meant the same as “well-formed” conscience, that is, in line with the Church’s teachings.

The argument:

If homosexuals are well-informed – and who isn’t informed about the Church’s teaching these days? – and if you have the right “attitude”, then inseminating another man’s colon isn’t a problem.  Hey!  It could be morally good!

Next, if it’s morally good (and they have established that as a premise you are supposed to accept), then their acts aren’t a scandal.

Next, if their acts aren’t scandalous, they can’t be denied a funeral on the basis of scandal!



Maybe insemination of colons isn’t scandal to the well-informed homosexuals who commit the acts – but those acts are scandalous to right-thinking people who adhere to the truth of natural law and the teachings of the Church which condemn such acts.

That’s the sort of whopper that probably got their book condemned.

Then go pull out the numbers card saying that “the majority of U.S. Catholics (67 percent) support same-sex marriage”.

So the hell what?  After decades of simply dreadful catechesis, I’ll bet that 67% of Catholics can’t tell you what a sacrament is.   After decades of simply dreadful basic education, I’ll bet that 67% percent of young people can’t read a single page of text with comprehension or balance their checkbook… if they had checkbooks.

Furthermore it is a non sequitur.  How is it a good thing to give tacit approval to same-sex acts by giving openly homosexual, active, public sinners (marriage is public) funerals and thus contribute to that number going for 67% to 68%.  Shouldn’t that number be going the down, and not up?

And they wanted “objective criteria” before.  I’d say that the numbers are objective enough.

Later they get into the morass surrounding “grave” sin and “mortal” sin, as if they are different.

I’ll quote from John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia.  And we all know that no one ever quibble with a single word or footnote in any Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.   Nosirreee!  Read carefully:

During the synod assembly some fathers proposed a threefold distinction of sins, classifying them as venial, grave and mortal. This threefold distinction might illustrate the fact that there is a scale of seriousness among grave sins. But it still remains true that the essential and decisive distinction is between sin which destroys charity and sin which does not kill the supernatural life: There is no middle way between life and death.

Likewise, care will have to be taken not to reduce mortal sin to an act of ” fundamental option”-as is commonly said today-against God, intending thereby an explicit and formal contempt for God or neighbor. For mortal sin exists also when a person knowingly and willingly, for whatever reason, chooses something gravely disordered. [even if your conscience is “well-informed”?!?] In fact, such a choice already includes contempt for the divine law, a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation; the person turns away from God and loses charity. Thus the fundamental orientation can be radically changed by individual acts. Clearly there can occur situations which are very complex and obscure from a psychological viewpoint and which have an influence on the sinner’s subjective culpability. But from a consideration of the psychological sphere one cannot proceed to the construction of a theological category, which is what the “fundamental option” precisely is, understanding it in such a way that it objectively changes or casts doubt upon the traditional concept of mortal sin.

[NB:] While every sincere and prudent attempt to clarify the psychological and theological mystery of sin is to be valued, the church nevertheless has a duty to remind all scholars in this field of the need to be faithful to the word of God that teaches us also about sin. She likewise has to remind them of the risk of contributing to a further weakening of the sense of sin in the modern world.

That’s what these guys and the National Sodomitic Reporter are doing.

They are weakening the sense of sin in the modern world.

That’s called SCANDAL.

That’s why faithful bishops uphold the law and the Church’s teachings: to avoid SCANDAL.

That’s why faithless clerics and agents of the demonic in the lib catholic press “struggle” against these bishops much as the Red Guards did in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The authors go one to make a mess of the “primacy of conscience” and, this time “well-formed” conscience with the grand peroration…

Understanding Catholic teaching on the authority of conscience, Pope Francis has correctly stated that we, that is, Catholic pastors and faithful alike, “find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations.”

We have been called, he adds, “to form consciences, not to replace them” (Amoris Laetitia, 37).

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, Amoris laetitia.

That phrase is trotted out to justify anything.

We might ask, how many Catholics out there know their basics and have a properly-formed, well-formed conscience?

Do you see the creepy mess presented in the Fishwrap?

It’s all for for sake of the advance of sodomy and, eventually, lowering the age of consent.


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An Armenian bishop “ordains” a deaconette

My inbox is being pelted with a story that some Armenian Orthodox bishop in Tehran “ordained” a female deacon.  For example HERE and HERE.

To which I respond:

Ho hum.

First, I’m not sure that we care much about a single Armenian bishop does in Tehran.

Secondly, the claim in the story is that Armenians had a long tradition of ordaining deaconettes. Oh, really? Then why is this a big story?

Thirdly, if they had them, and then they disappeared… maybe there’s a good reason.

Fourthly, you can’t simply declare something to be a long-standing tradition.

The best thing written to date about women and the diaconate, Deaconesses: An Historical Study by Aime G. Martimort (French 1982 & English – Ignatius Press, 1986) [US HERE – UK HERE] has a chapter: “Were there deaconesses among the Armenians and Georgians?”

The answer is as you have already guessed.

As Martimort explains, there isn’t any reliable evidence for their early  practice.  Moreover, they were explicitly forbidden from the 5th century onward.  In the 12th c. there was discussion of deaconettes in strict cloisters, but reading on in Martimort we find that even that seems dodgy.  Martimort concludes:

“Even though it is not always easy to fix the exact date of its desuetude in the various churches, it does seem pretty clear that, by the end of the tenth or eleventh centuries, deaconesses had pretty much disappeared in the East, even though the memory of them continued, anachronistically, to be revived in the recopying of liturgical books, and – in a defective and imprecise fashion – in the tradition of canonists.”

“But Father! But Father!”, you libs bellow from your fainting couches and behind your quivering fans, “You are always talking about TRADITION!  Here they are using their tradition!  Right?  So, you are a hypocritical, patriarchalist who clings to laws and … and … YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

Deaconettes… nope.

A former professor of mine in Rome, Fr. Giles Pelland, SJ explains:

In order to speak of a “tradition” or “practice” of the Church, it is not enough to point out a certain number of cases spread over a period of four or five centuries. One would have to show, insofar as one can, that these cases correspond to a practice accepted by the Church at the time. Otherwise, we would only have the opinion of a theologian (however prestigious), or information about a local tradition at a certain moment in its history—which obviously does not have the same weight.

In a nutshell, it is possible to find any number of isolated incidents of this or that aberrant practice in the ancient Church.  We see this in our own day.  Just because some group does or says X today doesn’t mean that it is accepted Catholic practice or teaching.  A serious problem arises when you try to found your arguments on those isolated aberrant practices as if they were accepted.

Everyone… just refer the promoters of deaconettes to Martimort.  It is a little dated, now, but it is at least sober and fair.


The Pelland quote, by the way, comes from a discussion of ancient marriage and divorce practices, but it is entirely appropriate for other discussions of ancient practice as well.  Gilles Pelland, S.J., “Did the Church Treat the Divorced and Remarried More Leniently in Antiquity than Today?”, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, February 2, 2000, p. 9. Quoted in the magnificent, highly useful, deeply influential, hated by libs, stolen from Synod mailboxes,  Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (in English by Ignatius Press HERE – UK link HERE).


Not everyone is on board.   HERE

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Two seriously ugly signs of the times involving papal honors and the silencing of bells


What sort of person is this Ploumen, to whom the papal honor was given? Ed Pentin has more extensive information. HERE

Ploumen’s work in support of abortion has been monstrous: In protest at President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy last year which ended federal funding international organizations that perform or promote abortion, Ploumen set up an NGO called  “She Decides” which sought to continue funding many of those organizations. By July 2017,  “She Decides” had raised $300 million; it now has a war chest of $390 million, most of it going to UN agencies. It is backed by 60 countries, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Her campaigning has also gone beyond abortion to include being a radical supporter of homosexual rights. In 2010, she urged homosexuals to disrupt Mass in a Dutch cathedral after an openly homosexual man was denied Holy Communion. Last September Ploumen was a prominent speaker at the LGBT’s Core Group at the United Nations. The Vatican statement made no explicit mention of her political activism in that area.

In 2015, and also in her capacity as a Dutch minister, Ploumen had a private audience with the Pope to discuss climate change. The Dutch government had co-organized a Vatican conference on the issue ahead of the intergovernmental climate change talks in Paris later that year.

So… radical homosexualist as well as a radical infanticide.

Jesuit educated?

___ Originally Published on: Jan 15, 2018

Signs of the times.

This first item struck me as being right up there with someone in Hawaii pushing the wrong button, or maybe a prime example of fake news.

A few days ago I saw tweets and a report that the Holy Father had awarded the papal honor of St. Gregory to an infamous promotrix of abortion in Holland, Lilianne Ploumen. She is the Dutch Ministrix of Development.  She had, inter alia, worked to fill the gaps of funding for abortions overseas after Pres. Trump cut funding.

“It can’t be true”, I thought.  “Or if it is, then someone pushed the wrong button.”

I was amazed.  However, what was more amazing about it is that even she seemed amazed.

Watch the video below as she talks about getting the award. Transcript:

BNR – And this is the umpteenth prize that Lilianne Ploumen observes, won in 2017 and from whom they came.
Ploumen – Yes, it is a high distinction from the Vatican; from the pope.
BNR – From the pope.
Ploumen – Beautiful.
BNR – Yes.
Ploumen – It is Commander in the order of St. Gregory.
BNR – And that despite that you are pro-abortion. [Note how amused they are here.]
Ploumen – Yes you can check.

The Card.  Eijk of Utrecht jumped in to say that he had nothing to do with this papal honor.  Usually local bishops are involved when they are bestowed.  They put in requests, the mandarins in Rome go through their gyrations and honors are awarded.

The Holy See’s Press Office issued a statement over the signature of one of the collaborators of the office, not over Greg Burke’s (he’s off to S. America with the Pope and in this age of social communications, with inboard wifi, etc., that leaves him out of the loop).   The press office statement says that this award was part of a routine exchange of honors for diplomatic purposes during a state visit.  Therefore, it has nothing to do with Ploumen’s advocacy of abortion.


Yes, I’m afraid that it does!

I know that the Pope himself is not bothered with most of these awards.  This is handled in the Secretariat of State.  But you’d think that someone in SecState, who knows the situation in Holland, would have said something like, “Ummm.. guys?  Maybe we should pick someone who isn’t famous for being pro-abortion?  I’m jus’ sayin’.”

I keep circling back to that video….

Does this not fit the definition of scandal?

Does this action in some way diminish the Church’s moral authority in defending human life, fighting abortion, and even working on the world stage to prevent abortion in developing countries?

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.

The flip side of this is, of course, that when an authority fails to act to prevent or diminish scandal, that authority is negligent, perhaps sinfully so.

Think, in another context, of a Catholic school inviting an infamous homosexualist advocate to speak.  Even it the Jesuit is going to talk about something that has nothing to do with homosexuality, every one there knows that he and his primary message – set aside for tonight – is tacitly being approved by the fact that he has been whitelisted to speak.

Nudge… wink.

Shifting gears…

The Religion if Peace is invading Europe.  It is a form of jihad involving immigration called hijra.  It is intended precisely to spread Islam.    Build up your numbers in a region and then move against the infidel, now powerless to defend.

Nearly all our pastors seem to be prone in the face of the OBVIOUS.

Pam Geller’s site reports that practitioners of the Religion of Peace in near Genoa, Italy, have demanded that church bells be silenced.

“Before Christmas we received a letter from a lawyer who, in the name of his client, ordered to stop the bells of the church of the Blessed Sacrament,” said Fr Michele De Santis, the Chancellor of the Curia, [i.e., the chancery] ” so we advised the parish priest to stop them. ».

So, the parish has curtailed the use of their bells.

Hmmm… the blessing of bells is nicknamed “baptism”.  They are washed with holy water, annointed with chrism and given a name.  They speak, and remind us to of God and remind us when to pray, as at certain times of day they ring the Angelus and Mass times, alert us to 3 o’clock on Fridays, let us know of burials and marriages, etc.

It’s okay for muslims to have calls to prayer from the tops of towers, but not Catholics.

Shutting down bells in Catholic church towers is like disarming a population before the imposition of tyranny.

I am sure, however, that the catholic Left will be sympathetic both to this anti-bell movement as well as the award to the Dutch abortion promotrix.   How sophisticated they will strive to sound as they explain how the delicate work of diplomatic circles can be, the need to make friends, not stir the pot too much.  How thoughtful they will appear, as they, with a slightly sad smile explain that bells are, in the end, not such a big deal.  We have to be respectful of different ways.  We have to welcome the immigrant and – hey! – they aren’t used to bells.  They don’t have them where they come from!  It would be inhospitable to cling to the unnecessary trappings – in fact old and probably outdated practices.

Abortion… hijrajihad by immigration/invasion.

Can’t we all just get along?


As per a request in the comments…

Everyone, please read

Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka.


More on this HERE.

And get a Kindle!  US HERE – UK HERE

I also recommend The Grand Jihad by Andrew McCarthy.  This explains how and why the liberal left coddles and cooperates in the destruction of Western culture.


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Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, New catholic Red Guards, Pò sì jiù, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace, What are they REALLY saying?, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

BOOK RECEIVED about Martin Luther (not King but by “King”)

It seems appropriate to post this today.

I recently received a hardback copy of a new book about Martin Luther by Richard Rex (“King”), professor of Reformation history at Cambridge.

The Making of Martin Luther (Princeton Univ. Press, 2017)


The contents:

He sets out, as he states, “to explain Luther’s ideas – to explain what they were, what was distinctive about them, and how he worked them out.” He wants to avoid caricatures.

I am assured by a correspondent:

I have known its author since he was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, England in the early/mid 1980s.  He is a practicing orthodox Catholic, and the father of six children.  Fr. Hunwicke commented on the book HERE. [Very funny, btw.]

If you are interested, these two websites provide more information about the book’s author HERE and HERE.

The book is not “polemical” in the way that Luther and His Progeny ed. John Rao is – not that Rao’s collection (which I am currently reading) is not a fine work as well – but I do not see how the discerning reader can come away from the book without some distaste for the figure whose intellectual and theological “development” it analyzes.  And with such a founder as Luther (just as with Joseph Smith for the Mormons or Francis Hodur for the “Polish National Catholic Church”) it may make one question the credibility of “Lutheranism as an -ism.”


That said, since I read the polemic book, I will will read what is promised to be a non-polemical.

A comment in the preface drove me right away to look first at a specific chapter.  In the preface:

The key to Luther’s theology is his notion of certainty. Luther, who might in some ways by regarded as the intellectual progenitor of the “masters of suspicion” (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud), called a great deal into doubt.

So, I turned immediately to Chap. 4: The Quest For Certainty.  It was rewarding.

BTW… the other Luther book mentioned, above, is:

Luther and His Progeny: 500 Years of Protestantism and Its Consequences for Church, State, and Society, edited by John Rao.



Let’s just say that these writers are not about to become Lutherans.  Fr. Hunwicke, who reviewed Rex, penned an essay for Rao.

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