Sunday, October 27, 2019

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God Loves the Humble

Today's readings continue from last Sunday on the theme that God is just and listens to the humble and righteous person.

In the first reading, we are reminded how God has no favorites but does focus a bit more on the weak, the oppressed and the widow.  God is not deaf to them and we are given an image of how the prayers of the weak, orphan, oppressed and widow "travels" to God.  They pierce the clouds and do not rest until they reach their goal.  God, in turn, does not delay in answering them. God is always there listening and answering our prayers, especially those prayers that come from those who are suffering injustices (Psalm 34:17).  We must remember those around the world suffering injustices. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has made it a top priority to help refugees in war-torn lands and in poor regions like the Amazon. This is why the Amazon synod is taking place at the Vatican to address the needs of the people there. It is sad to read tweets and other comments on social media from alleged Christians who attack the pope for reminding us how to be Christian.

These people put partisan politics over Christ and the Works of Mercy. God will judge them for this because we all will be measured against how we treat others (Matthew 7:2).  Matthew 25:35-40 is a top priority in the Christian faith.  We are not just called to go to Mass and pray; we are also called to be our brother's keeper, even if this brother is a stranger or even an enemy (Deuteronomy 10:19, Matthew 5:44). I know this is very difficult to process for all of us, but we must trust God. We must set aside our worries and ego and let charity take over.  When we do help others, we must do it for God and the person, not for recognition (Matthew 6:4). These acts should be genuine, without ulterior motives. We cannot be like those who keep a list of the good works they have performed believing God is taking score in heaven and will reward them.  He will tell them that He does not know them (Matthew 7:21-23).  Pride and careerism are not part of the Christian life.  We must do good and not look at who we are doing good towards, so to speak.  God will help them and us.  We are reminded in the responsorial Psalm that God hears the cry of the poor.  God is a just God who hears the cry of the poor and handles the evildoer with justice (Psalm 147:6).  God is close to those who are brokenhearted, depressed and crushed in spirit (Proverbs 29:23). He saves them and rescues them from their misery.

God is a Father to us.  He is not some oppressive cosmic agent out there in existence taking pleasure at our demise like how the ancient Greeks described Zeus and other malevolent deities as being. They totally did not understand the nature of God which is goodness (Psalm 136:1) and used the human experience to describe God instead. God only seeks the best for us, even in times of suffering.  This is why we read in the second reading how St. Paul describes his suffering.  He is "poured our like a libation." A libation was used in Pagan rituals to please the gods by pouring wine or other liquid on altars or sacrifices. St. Paul uses the Pagan imagery to describe his life and service being offered to God. Our lives must also be a libation to God. We should "pour ourselves" before the Lord and offer Him all of our pains, sufferings, joys and all that makes us human (Colossians 1:24). We are in a race, as St. Paul describes. In this race, we will tire from running. Things around us will try to prevent us from finishing, but we must move on without stopping.  At the end, if we persevere, we will receive the crown of righteousness.  The Christian life is not "puppy and kittens," so to speak. We must suffer.  This suffering may even include the abandonment of those we thought were our friends, family, and fellow Catholics!  We must pray for them. God is the one who gives us strength and keeps us on the course.  He will rescue us from the "lion's mouth" we may face daily in our lives. Faith, hope, and love are our guides. These are more effective when we are humble.

The Gospel for today reminds us of being humble. Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector.  Both were praying.  The Pharisee took his place and prayed to God thanking God that he was not like other people.  He even singled out the tax collector as an example before God.  The Pharisee then lists all the things he does in the name of God as if God needs to be reminded.  We can see how arrogant this guy was! He thought he was the best thing since slice bread, so to speak! The tax collector, on the other hand, prayed looking downward and beat his breast in an act of contrition. He did not thank God for making him different from others, nor did he list his religious practices or good works. All he did was an act of contrition. Jesus uses this parable to present the importance of how being humble is if we are to be with God. St. Basil tells us, "Never place yourself above anyone, not even great sinners. Humility often saves a sinner who has committed many terrible transgressions ("On Humility", quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 280.)." We must never put ourselves above anyone else. All of us are equal in the eyes of God. Human beings can make themselves kings or queens, presidents or prime ministers, but we are all the same before God. One of us may live in a mansion and another in the projects in an inner city. 

In the end, we all will dwell in the cemetery in the same earth.  Humility is important in the Christian life.  It puts things in perspective. If we see ourselves as not being above others, then we will be more psychologically compelled to help others and love them. However, if we look down at others, we will feel all high and mighty believing others are like bugs under us that we can trample over without concern. St. Augustine puts it using the role of a doctor and patient, he states, "How useful and necessary a medicine is repentance! People who remember that they are only human will readily understand this. It is written, 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' … The Pharisee was not rejoicing so much in his own clean bill of health as in comparing it with the diseases of others. He came to the doctor. It would have been more worthwhile to inform him by confession of the things that were wrong with himself instead of keeping his wounds secret and having the nerve to crow over the scars of others. It is not surprising that the tax collector went away cured, since he had not been ashamed of showing where he felt pain (: "Sermon 351.1", quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 279)." We must be reminded that we do not justify ourselves, God does. Unfortunately, some of us Catholics live life religiously in a mechanical way. We do things in the name of obligation and not sincerity. In our parishes, we may encounter others who seek positions of power just to lord over others. We see others give money or perform a task just to gain recognition. This is not Christianity.  It is egoism. We can go to daily Mass, confess every day, pray a million Rosaries and chaplets, but if we do not have love and humility, then there is no point (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We like the Pharisee will only be condemning ourselves. St. Cyril of Alexandria states,"What profit is there in fasting twice in the week if it serves only as a pretext for ignorance and vanity and makes you proud, haughty and selfish? You tithe your possessions and boast about it.

In another way, you provoke God's anger by condemning and accusing other people because of this. You are puffed up, although not crowned by the divine decree for righteousness. On the contrary, you heap praises on yourself. He says, 'I am not as the rest of humankind.' Moderate yourself, O Pharisee. Put a door and lock on your tongue. You speak to God who knows all things. Wait for the decree of the judge. No one who is skilled in wrestling ever crowns himself. No one receives the crown from himself and then still waits for the summons of the referee.… Lower your pride, because arrogance is accursed and hated by God… No one who is in good health ridicules one who is sick for being laid up and bedridden. He is rather afraid, for perhaps he may become the victim of similar sufferings. A person in battle, because another has fallen, does not praise himself for having escaped from misfortune. The weakness of others is not a suitable subject for praise for those who are in health ("Commentary on Luke, Homily 120", quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 279)."  We all must be humble. Humility begins when we remember that we are not God. It begins when we ask God for mercy. This act reminds us that we are not perfect and need God. Since it reminds us that we are not perfect, this brings us to help others because we are no better than they are. 

Let us be humble.  Let us not be the Catholic-Pharisee who finds faults in others and not our own.  Let us not be like the Catholic-Pharisee who thinks he or she knows more than even the pope and bishops.  Let us not be the Catholic-Pharisee who is so stuck on nostalgia that we label others as "Novus ordo cultists" and begin to decide who is a true Catholic and who is not based on our nostalgia, bias and ignorance. The Amazon synod has been attacked by these kind of people who do not understand what it means to be pastoral. They focused on Amazon indigenous figures of Pachamama and accused the pope of idolatry.  This is said out of ignorance.  Pachamama, while seen as a deity in the Andes, is also seens as a representation of the Earth as a mother. Natives in the Amazon used this imagery to represent the Blessed Mother Mary as well, (Merlino, Rodolfo y Mario Rabey (1992). "Resistencia y hegemonía: Cultos locales y religión centralizada en los Andes del Sur". Allpanchis (in Spanish) (40): 173–200). We must be humble and not jump to conclusions when we see culture expressed in the faith.  Humility is key to the Christian life. One of my teachers exhibited this well. Mrs. Mildred Green was one of my English teachers during my formative years. She was a humble lady. She passed away recently.  Her humility was an example to me.  A seed grows from the ground up, not the other way around. This is why humility is the way to go if we are to rise up to God. Remember, pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).  May Jesus Christ be praised!







Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102719.cfm


Please help expand this evangelization work by donating via my PayPal, www.patreon.com/sacerdotus and/or www.gofundme.com/Sacerdotus.   





Friday, October 25, 2019

Pope Francis says Amazon Figures are of 'Pachamama'

Finally, after nearly a month of speculation we have something solid regarding the Amazonian Indigenious figures that were cast into the Tiber a week ago.

Pope Francis has called them "pachamama" and offered pardon for those men who threw the figures into the Tiber. He praised officers for retreiving the figures from the Tiber and said that they will be present at the closing Mass for the Amazon Synod. Here are his off-the-cuff words:

Pope Francis' words
Good afternoon. I want to say a word about the statues of the pachamama that were taken from the church of the Transpontina – which were there without idolatrous intentions – and were thrown into the Tiber.
First of all, this happened in Rome, and, as Bishop of the Diocese, I ask pardon of the persons who were offended by this act.
Then, I want to communicate to you that the statues which created such attention in the media, were retrieved from the Tiber. The statues were not damaged.
The Commander of the Carabinieri desires that you should be informed of this recovery before the news is made public. At the moment, the news is confidential, and the statues are being kept in the Italian Carabinieri Commander's office.
The Commander of the Carabinieri has expressed his desire to follow up on any indications that you would like to give concerning the manner of publication of the news, and any other initiative you may want to take in this regard: for example, the Commander said, “the exhibition of the statues during the Holy Mass for the closing of the Synod”. We’ll see.
I have delegated the Secretary of State to respond to this.
This is a bit of good news. Thank you.


The pope called the retrieval "good news" and clearly stated that the intentions of the figures was not idolatry. I am sure that Dr. Taylor Marshall, Rorate Caeli, Fr. Z, Church Militant and others are fuming mad now knowing that the celebration of their stunt was premature and futile. The statues were recovered undamaged, and now will be on display at the closing Mass. Perhaps this last bit was the Pope's "in your face" response to the outrage. We may never know.

However, I do have concerns now that the figures have been confirmed as "pachamama." This is Pagan imagery representing "mother earth." However, St. Francis has called the earth "mother" as well. The difference here is inculturation with Christianity. The Church allows this. the Church borrows from the customs and ways of the people she evangelizes. We read in Ad Gentes:

22. The seed which is the word of God, watered by divine dew, sprouts from the good ground and draws from thence its moisture, which it transforms and assimilates into itself, and finally bears much fruit. In harmony with the economy of the Incarnation, the young churches, rooted in Christ and built up on the foundation of the Apostles, take to themselves in a wonderful exchange all the riches of the nations which were given to Christ as an inheritance (cf Ps. 2:8). They borrow from the customs and traditions of their people, from their wisdom and their learning, from their arts and disciplines, all those things which can contribute to the glory of their Creator, or enhance the grace of their Savior, or dispose Christian life the way it should be.(5) (Ad Gentes)

The things the Church borrows from the culture of the people she evangelizes is used to give glory to the Creator and enhance the graces needed so the Christian life can be lived. These elements are culture are purified in order to serve God. We read in Lumen Gentium:

Through her work, whatever good is in the minds and hearts of men, whatever good lies latent in the religious practices and cultures of diverse peoples, is not only saved from destruction but is also cleansed, raised up and perfected unto the glory of God, (Lumen Gentium 17)

So we see that the Catholic Church does not want to destroy or erase the culture of the people and replace it. Rather, she borrows from them, cleanses them and uses them to glorify God and evangelize the people so that the people can live their Christian life as it should be lived. The Catholic Church is not an imperialistic empire looking to assimilate and destroy other cultures. She has made it clear. In Faith and Inculturation and Evangelii Praecones, we read this clearly:

24. The Holy Spirit does not establish a superculture, but is the personal and vital principle which will vivify the new community in working in harness with its members (FAITH AND INCULTURATION, 1988).
"The Church's aim is not the domination of peoples or the gaining of temporal dominions; she is eager only to bring the supernatural light of faith to all peoples, and to promote the interests of civilization and culture, and fraternal concord among nations."[23] (Evangelii Praecones)

Those vocal about the figures have been affluent white men who adhere to a so-called "traditionalist" take on Catholicism.  They seem to prefer Eurocentric ideas over anything else.  The idea that every culture must adopt a European or white way of doing this is not the Church's thinking. As stated, The Holy Spirit did not create a super culture in the Church that seeks to replace other cultures. The Catholic Church does not exist to dominate other people and erase their culture. Rather, she cleanses them and makes use of them so they can glorify God and evangelize the people more effectively. Evangelii Praecones goes further by stating:

58. This is the reason why the Catholic Church has neither scorned nor rejected the pagan philosophies. Instead, after freeing them from error and all contamination she has perfected and completed them by Christian revelation. So likewise the Church has graciously made her own the native art and culture which in some countries is so highly developed. She has carefully encouraged them and has brought them to a point of aesthetic perfection that of themselves they probably would never have attained. By no means has she repressed native customs and traditions but has given them a certain religious significance (Evangelii Praecones 58)
We said: "The herald of the Gospel and messenger of Christ is an apostle. His office does not demand that he transplant European civilization and culture, and no other, to foreign soil, there to take root and propagate itself. His task in dealing with these peoples, who sometimes boast of a very old and highly developed culture of their own, is to teach and form them so that they are ready to accept willingly and in a practical manner the principles of Christian life and morality; principles, I might add, that fit into any culture, provided it be good and sound, and which give that culture greater force in safeguarding human dignity and in gaining human happiness. Catholic inhabitants of missionary countries, although they are first of all citizens of the Kingdom of God and members of His great family,[46] do not for all that cease to be citizens of their earthly fatherland."[47] (Evangelii Praecones 60)
So as you can see, the Catholic Church does not seek to make every culture into a European one. While we are the Latin rite, that does not mean that every culture must become Roman in the cultural sense. She can and does incorporate even Pagan symbolism in order to serve Christ and His Church. This is the key thing we need to understand and which Taylor Marshall and others do not seem to process.  If the pope allowed "pachamama" to be used in these non-liturgical rituals, it is because the imagery was Christianized and used to serve Christ.  It became a symbol, not an object of worship.  This would be like using fire to represent the Holy Spirit.  Many Pagan cultures thought fire was a god or some supernatural power entity.  However, the Church has incorporated the imagery and transformed it.  This is allowed.  Here is some reaction on Twitter:



UPDATE OCTOBER 26, 2019:
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni now claims that the word pachamama was in italics in the statement indicating that the pope simply mentioned it because that was how the media was identifying it. In other words, he did not mean to say that the figure was pachamama.





What are your thoughts?  Post here below on Disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules for commenting.




Source:

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-10/pope-francis-comments-on-statues-stolen-from-church.html

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/10/25/pope-francis-apologises-that-amazon-synod-pachamama-was-thrown-into-tiber-river/


UPDATED Source:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pope-asks-forgiveness-theft-controversial-181532713.html

https://kfgo.com/news/articles/2019/oct/25/pope-asks-forgiveness-for-theft-of-controversial-amazon-statues/951029/

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/10/22/world/americas/22reuters-pope-synod-amazon-hate.html

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Taylor R. Marshall Claims Wikipedia Libel

Conspiracist and author Taylor R. Marshall has been in the news on the Catholic blogsophere lately. From alleged racially sensitive criticisms, alleged suspension from Twitter, to the celebration of the Amazon wooden figures being thrown into the Tiber.  Well now, he seems to be caught in a real conspiracy scenario. According to him, the Wikipedia article describing his biography was edited and replaced with this:

"Taylor Marshall Ph.D. is a self-appointed Catholic theologian without a Catholic Theology degree and apologist for Catholic radical traditionalists, who is known for his praising Amazon Synod theft and defence of radical traditional Catholic heretical teachings." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki?diff=922741349)

Clearly, the person who edited the Wikipedia is out to get Dr. Marshall. The content posted is not false, but it is clearly an attack on Marshall and possibly an attempt to intimidate him. However, this is not the major issue. The major issue is that the editor of the Wikipedia is allegedly from within the Vatican. Wikipedia posts the IP addresses of those who contribute to articles and edit them. The IP address of whoever did this edit to the Wikipedia page on Marshall is 212.77.30.154. This IP can be traced to the Vatican.

Here are some Tweets on this new development:



















While I cannot truly verify nor confirm whether or not this is true, I can tell from experience that it may be true that people in the Vatican stalk other Catholic bloggers. Years ago when disgraced priest Father Rosica threatened to sue Catholic blogger Vox Cantoris, I wrote a piece on the story (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/02/fr-rosica-sues-blogger-vox-cantoris.html). Shortly afterwards, I noticed that Fr. Rosica blocked me on Twitter without provoking on my part.  We never interacted, so how did he know where to find me to block me?   I then noticed that a Vatican IP visited my site and looked at the blog post on Rosica, see this old tweet:



So as you can see, the situation Dr. Marshall is in may in fact be a real one. Now, as usual, I am always skeptical of things and need evidence that can be vetted. VPN can be used to post false IP addresses. This whole thing can be a publicity stunt by Taylor. Anything is possible. However, from personal experience, I think this scenario with Marshall is probable. The IP address is very similar to the one that visited my site years ago.  As many of us can imagine, Marshall is not a favorite with the powers that be at the Vatican. His constant attacks against the Vicar of Christ, misinterpretations and cherry picking of Catholic doctrine and rigid understanding of the Liturgy is certainly not a welcomed ideology or tactic of evangelization in the Catholic Church.  It is fundamentalist in nature. So clearly, Marshall does not have any friends at Rome, so to speak. The editing of the Wikipedia is obviously intentional.

If so, then this is troubling. At least with me, someone just viewed my point. However, with Marshall, someone actually wrote something, that while true, can be interpreted as detraction. In any event, Dr. Marshall Taylor should be concerned and on alert. He should employ technologies that will shield his own personal computers and devices from any possible hacking attempts. As he showed, it is odd that the Vatican internet system went down. This could be a coincidence, but we can not rule out any attempt to clean up bread crumbs, so to speak. If Dr. Marshall is being targeted by someone at the Vatican with access to computer experts, anything can possibly happen including any hacks of Marshall's devices which may have content that can compromise his reputation and his family and friends. Pray for him and everyone involved. 

What do you think? Post below on Disqus. Be sure to follow the rules on commenting. 



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Priests at Amazon Synod: Stop Using Gold in Liturgy

If the drama surrounding the Amazonian figures that were thrown into the Tiber yesterday was not enough, during the synod presser in Rome, priests made suggestions surrounding the use of gold in the liturgy.

Father Thomas Reese of the Jesuit order said, "the Catholic Church continues to use gold in it's Sacred vessels, it would send an educational message if the Church banned gold in the liturgy." This was affirmed and followed by Fr. Dario Bossi, a Comboni Missionary in Brazil who is also a member of REPAM, the organization behind the Amazon Synod. Bossi said, "Yes, it would be a very strong message if the Church could avoid using gold in the liturgy and the sacraments." Here are the video clips:






GIRM states:

327. Among the requisites for the celebration of Mass, the sacred vessels are held in special honor, especially the chalice and paten, in which the bread and wine are offered and consecrated, and from which they are consumed.
328. Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.
329. In the dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for example, ebony or other hard woods, provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels which hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and other things of this kind.
330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.
- http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20030317_ordinamento-messale_en.html


It seems that the reasoning behind this suggestion is to present a "poor" Church to the world. Pope Francis has stressed his desire for the Church to be poor and not the wealthy and indifferent institution the world believe it is. While the idea is noble and I agree that the Church can be seen as too "worldly" with her riches, we need to put things into perspective. The gold used in sacred vessels is to show the importance of whom they contain: Jesus Christ, His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. These vessels are not dining utensils or dinnerware for priests or anyone else. That being stated, it is one thing for a priest or bishop to live lavishly in a mansion, with expensive cars, spending on clothing, liquor and even inappropriate sexual encounters and it is another thing to use the best to worship the Lord.

Pope Francis himself has modeled his papacy after St. Francis of Assisi, the saint of poverty, the poverello. St. Francis stressed the idea of not having possessions. He took to heart the Gospel where Christ commanded that we should not have riches stored and that we should not worry where our food or clothing would come from. St. Francis even banned his friars from owning books! Despite this, the seraphic holy father stressed the importance of using the best for Christ in the Sacred Species. He wrote this letter to the Custodians of his friars minor:

To all the custodians of the Friars Minor to whom this letter is sent, Brother Francis, your servant and little one in the Lord God, sends a greeting with new signs of heaven and earth, which are great and extraordinary in the sight of God and yet are regarded as of little importance by many religious and other people. I beg you, with all that is in me and more, that, when it is appropriate and you judge it profitable, you humbly beg the clergy to revere above everything else the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His written words which consecrate His Body. The chalices, corporals, appointments of the altar, and everything which pertains to the sacrifice must be of precious material..." (Francis and Clare: The Complete Works.)

So as you can see, even St. Francis said to his friars that they must use "precious material" for anything related to the Mass; chalices, corporals etc. This is why the late Mother Angelica spared no expense with items related to the Blessed Sacrament. Many criticized the use of expensive vestments and vessels on the EWTN Mass citing her Franciscan way of life. However, as you can see here, the founder of the order was okay with it and ordered it.

What are your thoughts? Post them here below on Disqus. Be sure to follow the rules regarding commenting.





Monday, October 21, 2019

Ambiguous Figures of 'Our Lady of the Amazon' or "Amazonian Life" Thrown into the River

Something incredible happened in Rome. Thieves entered the Santa Maria in Traspontina church just before dawn and stole the carved wooden Amazon figures which were presented to Pope Francis on October 4th as "Our Lady of the Amazon" but were later described in a Amazon Synod presser as a "representation of life. (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2019/10/pagan-pope-pagan-vatican-ceremony.html)"

Fr Giacomo Costa, a synod official had told a press conference: “It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary?… It is an indigenous woman who represents life.” But another synod official, Fr Roberto Carrasco Rojas OMI has insisted that the statue is a Marian figure. “This figure is the Virgin Mary of the Amazon, Our Lady of the Amazon,” he told Rome Reports. “It’s a devotion that started in the indigenous communities… They carved in wood an image of a blessed mother, who is pregnant.” However, Bishop David Martínez De Aguirre Guinea told reporters at an press briefing on October 7 this: “Probably, those who used this symbol wished to refer to fertility, to women, to life, the life present among these Amazonian people and Amazonia is meant to be full of life. I don’t think we need to create any connections with the Virgin Mary or with a Pagan element.”

So-called traditionalist bloggers and podcasters such as Dr. Taylor Marshall and Michael Voris have called the figure "Pachamama" or a pagan goddess. I have not found any Vatican offical call the figure by this name. It derives solely from traditionalist and conservative squares. Moreover, the images of "pachamama" do not match the ones presented at the Vatican. Pachamama is often depicted as a heavy set indigenous woman. Other depictions show her as pregnant or as a mountain figure.




Here are the videos:





The video has this caption:

“for only one reason: Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, his blessed Mother, and everybody who follows Christ, are being attacked by members of our own Church. We do not accept this! We do not longer stay silent! We start to act NOW!” [sic]
“Because we love humanity, we can not accept that people of a certain region should not get baptised and therefore are being denied entrance into heaven,” the caption continues. “It is our duty to follow the words of God like our holy Mother did. There is no second way of salvation. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!”

The act was described by Vatican officials as a "stunt" and "theft." Ruffini said, "is a gesture that seems to me to contradict the spirit of dialogue that should always animate everything. I don't know what else to say. It was theft." He added of the incident, “seems to me to contradict the gesture of dialogue." Fr. Costa said that the images represents life in the Amazon like "glass of water or parrots" represents the region. Focus on the statues, and the gesture of throwing them into the Tiber river, doesn't make sense. However, it is never constructive to steal an object."

Here is some reaction on Twitter. Many Catholics celebrated the theft and dumping of the statues. Others have interpreted as a sign of xenophobia:






















































As you can see, many Catholics are happy that the images were stolen and thrown into the river. They see the images as idols or even a demon which was enthroned at the Vatican. However, not everyone was happy. Some consider the act as an act of xenophobia and racism. A Jesuit priest even reported Deacon Nick, Dr. Taylor and others for this:




As I stated before, I am not sure what the images are. They were presented as Our Lady of the Amazon, but then were presented as a female figure representing life only to later be described as the Virgin Mary again and then as a figure of the Amazon. It is so confusing. I personally do not believe it is Pachamama. I see no evidence for this and no one at the Vatican nor the Amazon natives have called the figure by this name. The name only can be found from sources within the so-called traditionalist blogosphere and other reactionaries.

What is troubling to me is the celebration of theft and the destruction of property. Let us supposed that, in fact, these were idols and the bloggers are correct. Should we steal things and destroy property? When the Statue of Liberty was proposed as a gift to the United States, Catholic New Yorkers protested heavily because the statue is a pagan goddess Libertas. They felt that this was a celebration and introduction of Paganism into American lives. The protests went nowhere and the frenzy died down. No one saw the statue as a pagan goddess. Even today, no one even identifies the statue as such. The Statue of Liberty stands alone as simply the Statue of Liberty that represents liberty, immigrants, New York and America.

To see Dr. Taylor Marshall and others celebrate the sin of theft is disturbing. What happened to "thou shalt not steal?" He cites events in the past regarding saints and others, but we are not in those times. Are Catholics supposed to enter satanic temples now and bash the heads of satanic statues? Are Catholics supposed to now go and destroy Buddha statues? Is this the norm he wants? This is crazy talk. Furthermore, the charge about xenophobia and racism is not one we can ignore. Even if this figure is not the Virgin Mary, we have to be concerned about the hate being demonstrated by whites against indigenous people. Virgin Mary or not, the image is representative of a culture, of a people. To trash it and speak ill of it is pretty much a reflection xenophobia and hate. This issue has to be looked into greatly. If this image is finally decided by the Vatican as representing the Virgin Mary as the Amazonians interpret her, then Taylor and company are in big trouble. They will have to answer to the charges of racism and xenophobia.

We should also be concerned about copycats looking to make a statement, as well as, the fact that this church has no security.  How can this Vatican landmark not have security?

UPDATE:
The group behind the Amazon Synod will be charging the men and is looking to identify them:





What do you think? Post your comment below on Disqus. Remember to follow the rules for commenting.







Source:

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-10/ruffini-vatican-prefect-on-theft-of-statues-in-rome.html

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/analysis-a-pink-dolphin-a-carved-image-and-inculturation-at-the-amazon-synod-45946

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/10/21/thieves-steal-amazon/

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/10/21/amazonian-statues-thrown-into-river-tiber/

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/10/21/amazonian-statues-thrown-into-river-tiber/

https://www.apnews.com/c7a9a84f0d24444492eb0922b5349b6f

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/amazon-synods-controversial-carved-figures-thrown-into-tiber-river-45142

https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/10/21/controversial-amazon-statue-stolen-from-church-thrown-in-romes-tiber-river/

https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-pachamama-drowned

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/10/21/amazonian-statues-thrown-into-river-tiber/?platform=hootsuite







@TaylorRMarshall is Back on Twitter



As of about 15 to 17 minutes ago, Taylor Marshall's Twitter account became active tweeting prayers in Latin.  As I expected, it seems like he simply purged his account and was never suspended.  Last week, Taylor's account looked as if it was suspended see: https://www.sacerdotus.com/2019/10/twitter-suspendsbans-conspiracist.html.  Many of his followers thought he was the victim of Twitter's gulag. 

   I will update this post as I learn more.










Sunday, October 20, 2019

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God to the Rescue

Today's readings remind us that God is just and always helps.

In the first reading, we read of Amalek who wages war against Israel. Amalek and the Amalekites were a ruthless group.  They were a nomadic nation who attacked the Hebrews for no reason.  These people were extremely wicked and capable of anything.  A contemporary example of them are ISIS and in the comic book "The Walking Dead" the group "Negan" or the "Whispers"  Those who read the comics or watch the series know that these two groups are ruthless and evil. They show no mercy and are butchers. Atheists often mention the Amalekites to accuse God of being evil. In my book, "Atheism Is Stupid," I mention the Amalekites when addressing the claim by Atheists that "God is evil" because God allows their destruction.  Atheists are not biblical scholars, so naturally, they will read the accounts in the Bible and call God evil and accuse Him of genocide, when this is, in fact, far from the truth.  Anyhow, as the Hebrews fight off the Amalekites, Moses raises his hand up in prayer.  As he does this, the Hebrews get the upper hand.  When he lowers his hands out of fatigue, the Amalekites get the upper hand. This narrative tells us that the power of prayer is more powerful than that of armies. It is the prayer of the holy man Moses which gives the upper hand to the Hebrews because God sides with the one who prays and is holy (James 5:16).

In this month of October, we should recall the Rosary.  The Rosary is a very powerful prayer.  St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Blessed Pope Pius IX both described the Rosary as a weapon and an instrument which can be used to conquer the world.  They are correct!  The Rosary is a prayer that entails the Gospel. We walk with Mary as she shows us her Son via the mysteries. I recommend that all Catholics pray the Rosary. My mentor and pastor, Bishop Francisco Garmendia who passed away in 2005 always advocated the Rosary. I and others are trying to gather information to get the Vatican to beging a study of his life for canonization. He was a very holy marian bishop who spread devotion to the Rosary and was featured on Mother Angelica live many decades ago.  He reminded me and many others how important it is to pray. 

Like Moses and the Hebrews, you will get the upper hand as you pray while facing today's Amalekites.  God is truly our help as the responsorial Psalm tells us.  We sometimes feel hopeless in life wondering when help will come. Help seems far away.  However, our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. This verse is used as a final blessing by bishops and is a great reminder that we must depend on God. God is always there to aid us in any need. He will not let us suffer anything that we cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).  God is with us and all around us as St. Patrick describes in his beautiful prayer. We must trust in God always and ask for His protection against the evils of this world, especially the spiritual ones which cause more damage than the physical ones.  It can be rough, but we must persevere in prayer and hold fast to what we have learned and believe.

This is what we are told in the second reading.  We must be faithful to the Sacred Deposit of the Faith. Our faith is not a salad bar where we pick and choose from what we want and do not want as the late Cardinal O' Connor, Archbishop of New York once stated.  We must accept the entire meal, so to speak. In fact, we can compare the faith to a healthy meal. Many times, we avoid vegetables because of their taste or texture and go for the meat and dessert.  We find those pleasure and delicious.  However, the truth of the matter is that the vegetables are better for us than meat and dessert.  Vegetables may not taste so good or feel so good in our mouths, but they are rich in nutrients.  The same with the faith and some harder aspects of it which unfortunately some Catholics cannot take in like contraception, abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage.  These hard teachings are like the vegetables we sometimes dread.  However, if we accept them, we will be truly nourished.  It may take time, but we must start out with milk before taking the solid food, as St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:2. Our faith comes from Christ who is the Truth. Who are we to reject any part of the Truth? Do we know better than Christ?!  Of course not!  We are told in the second reading the value of the Sacred Scriptures.  They are inspired by God and are useful for teaching, refutation, correction and righteousness.  Unfortunately, not too many Catholics read the Bible. This is sad. The Bible is God's word.

Our separated friends in the Protestant faith often use today's second reading to claim that we only need the Bible and not Sacred Tradition or the Magisterium of the Church.  This is a bad interpretation of this scripture.  The reading does not say "Scripture Alone," it says that Scripture is "USEFUL," not the only source.  In fact, Scripture tells us that we must also rely on Sacred Tradition in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. The interesting thing about Protestants and their interpretation of today's second reading is that when this verse was said and written, the only Scriptures around were the Hebrew Scriptures!  There was no New Testament. If we take the Protestant interpretation of "Sola Scriptura," then we can only call the Old Testament as inspired by God and reject the New Testament because the latter was not even finished. Moreover, we cannot rely solely on Scripture because Scripture does not even list the canon or list of books that make up the Bible. If the Bible is the only thing we must use to teach and learn on the faith, then how can we address where the list that makes the Bible come from?  For this, we must look at Tradition and history. It was Pope Damasus who ordered the official canon be comprised with 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  If it was not for Pope Damasus, we would not have a Bible. It was the Catholic Church that gave us the Bible and hence why the Church is the PILLAR and FOUNDATION of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15)!  This is why only the Catholic Church can interpret Scripture via the Holy Spirit (CDF, "Instruction Concerning the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian," 21). The Bible is not open to private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).  Pope Saint Siricius was the one who called it the "Bible." He used the word (biblos/Biblia) found in 2 Timothy 4:13 in the Greek text to describe the collection of these Sacred Pages. We must share this with our Protestant friends and evangelize them with charity.

Lastly, in the Gospel, we read another parable from Christ concerning a judge who sounds like an atheist who had no fear of God nor respected any human being. This judge heard the case of a widow and was reluctant on helping her but then agreed to do so because she was "bothering" him. Christ then states that God will secure the rights of His chosen ones who call out to Him.  This is why we must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God will answer us.  He may not answer us in the way we want but will answer us in the way we need.  God is just. God does not cheat anyone nor is He unfair. He will be there for us. Christ then asks if there will be faith on earth when He returns. This is an important question because it may be a clue as to when the world will end.  Christ mentioned how He will come like a thief in the night and catch everyone by surprise. We must wonder if the end of the world will come when religion is dead and atheism seems like the norm. It is clear to me that we are seeing this today. Study after study from the Pew Study organization claims that religion is on the decline. We see Mass attendance declining and people questioning the faith more and more. Strange ideas such as gender theory are taking over. No one seems to know what a male or female is anymore. It is a scary time. We can see the "fingerprints" of the enemy Satan in all of this who sows confusion and deception. Satan wants us to think that there is no God; that there is no gender; that life does not begin at conception but only when a judge says so; that marriage can be anything we want; that we can destroy the earth to live comfortable lives; that we can believe whatever we want because everything is a social construct etc. This is all a lie.

We must persevere in the faith and fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI tells us,"The power that changes the world and transforms it into the Kingdom of God, in silence and without fanfare, is faith—and prayer is the expression of faith. When faith is filled with love for God, recognized as a good and just Father, prayer becomes persevering, insistent, it becomes a groan of the spirit, a cry of the soul that penetrates God’s Heart. Thus, prayer becomes the greatest transforming power in the world. In the face of a difficult and complex social reality, it is essential to strengthen hope which is based on faith and expressed in unflagging prayer. It is prayer that keeps the torch of faith alight. Jesus asks as we heard at the end of the Gospel: 'When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?' (Lk 18:8). It is a question that makes us think. What will be our answer to this disturbing question? Today, let us repeat together with humble courage: Lord, in coming among us at this Sunday celebration you find us gathered together with the lamp of faith lit. We believe and trust in you! Increase our faith! (Source: Pastoral Visit to Naples, October 21, 2007.)." Things will get worse. The Church will suffer greatly. Be prepared!  Let us keep faith alive and pray without end like Moses. St. Cyril of Alexandria tells us, "The present parable assures us God will bend his ear to those who offer him their prayers, not carelessly nor negligently but with earnestness and constancy. The constant coming of the oppressed widow conquered the unjust judge, who did not fear God or have any shame. Even against his will, he granted her request. How will not he who loves mercy and hates iniquity, and who always gives his helping hand to those that love him, accept those who draw near to him day and night and avenge them as his elect? (Source: “Commentary on Luke, Homily 119”, quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 276)"

I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer.  We must pray always.  It must not be a "hobby" we do only on Sunday.  Prayer is a way of life!  Even our actions can be prayer, especially when we help others.  We must be ready for the day when Christ comes.  St. John Paul II reminds us, "The question with which Jesus ends the parable on the need “always to pray and not lose heart” frightens our soul. It is a question that is not immediately followed by an answer: indeed, it is intended as a challenge to each person, each ecclesial community, each human generation. Each one of us must give an answer. Christ wants to remind us that human life is directed to the final meeting with God; but in this perspective he asks himself whether, on his return, he will find souls ready, waiting for him, to enter the Father’s house with him. This is why he says to everyone 'Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour' (Mt 25:13). (Source:  John Paul II, Homilies of Pope John Paul II (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014). October 21, 2001.)"  May Jesus Christ be praised! 





Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102019.cfm



Please donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus, www.patreon.com/sacerdotus or on my PayPal.  Help keep this work online and growing.





Friday, October 18, 2019

Twitter Suspends/Bans Conspiracist Taylor Marshall

I was just made aware by my friend, British Deacon Nick that Catholic conspiracist, Dr. Taylor R. Marshall @TaylorRMarshall (https://twitter.com/TaylorRMarshall) was suspended or possibly permanently banned by Twitter. His Twitter account is not showing his tweets or retweets.

This is odd. While this is usually the pattern of a suspended account, the message "this account is suspended" does not pop up on the PC or app which makes the scenario odd. However, Twitter has been making changes to its system lately in order to block certain tweets deemed offensive from showing up in certain regions. Dr. Marshall's account may have fallen victim to this process.




While many of his tweets are questionable in regards to racism, xenophobia and homophobia in light of Twitter's censorship, we cannot rule out any glitch on the part of Twitter's new algorithms. This may explain why we are not seeing the pop up stating that the account was in fact suspended. However, sometimes when an account is suspended, the first phase is to show it as still active without tweets. As time passes, the message of it being suspended begins to pop up and then the followers disappear.  We shall see as the days pass to see if this happens.  He may have been reported for hate, though it looks more like he purged all of his tweets leaving his account blank with only his followers and bio information. 


 Here are some reactions from Catholics on Twitter:



















I will update this post as soon as I confirmed what exactly happened to Dr. Marshall's Twitter account. He has me blocked on both his Twitter and Instagram (@DrTaylorRMarshall) due to my criticism of his racist comments on the pope's Leopard vestments during his Africa visit (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2019/09/conspiracist-taylor-marshall-blocks.html ), but has no mention of the issue on his Instagram account or website.


Labels

Catholic Church (582) God (345) Atheism (295) Jesus (244) Jesus Christ (228) Bible (211) Pope Francis (194) Atheist (186) Science (141) LGBT (139) Liturgy of the Word (124) Christianity (107) Rosa Rubicondior (78) Pope Benedict XVI (77) Gay (74) Abortion (72) Prayer (60) President Obama (57) Physics (51) Philosophy (46) Vatican (46) Christian (43) Christmas (38) Psychology (37) Liturgy (36) New York City (35) Blessed Virgin Mary (34) Politics (31) Women (31) Biology (29) Baseball (27) Religious Freedom (26) Holy Eucharist (24) NYPD (23) Pope John Paul II (22) Space (22) priests (22) Evil (19) Health (19) Pro Abortion (19) Supreme Court (19) Protestant (18) Child Abuse (17) First Amendment (17) Pro Choice (17) Astrophysics (16) Donald Trump (16) Evangelization (16) Police (16) Traditionalists (16) Pedophilia (15) Christ (14) Death (14) Racism (14) Marriage (13) Priesthood (13) Illegal Immigrants (12) Blog (11) Theology (11) Apologetics (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) Vatican II (10) Autism (9) September 11 (9) Divine Mercy (8) Gospel (8) Human Rights (8) Morality (8) Pentecostals (8) Personhood (8) academia (8) Big Bang Theory (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Easter Sunday (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Gender Theory (7) Jewish (7) Barack Obama (6) Hell (6) Humanism (6) NY Yankees (6) Babies (5) Cognitive Psychology (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Eucharist (5) Massimo Pigliucci (5) Podcast (5) Sacraments (5) Spiritual Life (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) CUNY (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (4) Hispanics (4) Holy Trinity (4) Pope Pius XII (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Encyclical (2) Founding Fathers (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Eastern Orthodox (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1) Pope Paul VI (1)