Thursday, September 8, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Dead at 96

"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon" was the messaged placed outside of Buckingham Palace. The day many dreaded but knew was inevitable came after she became extremely frail and was shown in her last photo with a very dark hand. Queen Elizabeth II, the Sovereign of Great Britain passed away at the age of 96.  

Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926 Elizabeth was born into royalty. However, she was never meant to be in line to the throne. When her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, her father King George VI acceded to the throne. Upon his death, Elizabeth became the Queen.  She did not attend school with other Britons but was instead educated at home privately.  She served in the Second World War as a mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was here that she met Philip Mountbatten who the former prince of Denmark and Greece. Their marriage would last 73 years. Prince Philip would pass away in 2021.  

Queen Elizabeth was a very traditional monarch. However, she knew that she had to adjust to the times. This was noticeable in her children's divorces. Despite this, Queen Elizabeth remained a visible and moral embodiment of marriage. As Queen, she was head of the Anglican denomination and attended services regularly. Her traditional ways were often met with criticism. She was seen as aloof or distant. This was made more apparent at the death of Princess Diana where it took a long time for her to respond. She later gave a televised speech on Diana's death after bring pressured by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair who reminded her of her duty to her people and her declining popularity. Many Britons wanted the monarchy abolished at the time.  

Queen Elizabeth faced many challenges throughout her reign. Most recently were the family problems with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as well as her son Prince Andrew who was accused of sexual relations with underage women. Despite this, the Queen remained firm and held the integrity of the institution of the Monarchy.  She traveled the world on many occasions, including the United States where she loved to vacation in Kentucky. Having met 13 presidents and several popes, she gained a reputation around the world beyond Great Britain as a strong leader. Her wit and sense of humor were often masked under the pomp, circumstance and protocols royals have to follow. Nevertheless, those who knew her and met her found her to be a regular person with a big job. Her fancy outfits and "little old lady" appearance will be missed by many. Her grandson Harry hid website changed to a black screen with the words "IN LOVING MEMORY OF Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022."  Many others have piled up flowers at British embassies and locations around the globe in her honor.  

However, not everyone was a fan of her. Many in nations colonized by Great Britain accuse her of racism and continuing the colonization begun by her predecessors.  One such critic is professor Uju Anya who wished the Queen suffered in agony and excruciating pain in a tweet on Twitter which was later removed by Twitter for violating its rules.  Carnegie Mellon University has condemned the comment with a statement which read “We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uku Anya today on her personal social media account. Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster.” There is no word of any disciplinary action or termination by her employer for her comments. 

Queen Elizabeth was not perfect, but was a model for our times. She managed to steer her kingdom through 70 decades of change without missing a step, so to speak. Her stoic demeanor and ability to use the right words is a model for any leader in today's postmodern age where so many things change so fast. Her subjects saw her not only as a Queen but as a motherly or grandmother figure. The outpouring of mourning and prayers and media attention are testament to the love and esteem she has earned over the ages. As stated, she and her husband were a model of what a marriage can be if vows are taken seriously and the love is genuine. While she was not Catholic, she fostered strong traditional Christian values. Her critics have some valid criticism, but their relentless zeal to punish all for the sins of those long gone are not helping anything. Let him or her without sin cast the first stone. History shows every race is guilty of sins against each other.  Welcome to earth where the invasive species called humans exists and harm each other. Those who want to continue to blame Europeans or another race are just as guilty of racial genocide as those they criticize. This criticism turns into hatred. Dr. Anya is acting like a troll riding off the news wave of Queen Elizabeth II's death. Any educated person knows all races invaded, massacred, and colonized each other.  Rest in peace to a class act Queen and pity on a classless court jester showing faux concern for "her people." 

I am not a fan of the monarchy system, but respect what the British people decide to use to govern themselves. Queen Elizabeth II was a formidable woman and will be missed. She has a striking resemblance to my own grandmother and mother!  In fact, I do have British genetics in my make-up.  Long live the Queen in God's mercy.  May she rest in peace and may God truly save the Queen now that she has me the King of kings.  

We at Sacerdotus extend our condolences to the Queen's family and the British people.  We all mourn her death.  


Source: 


https://www.royal.uk/her-majesty-the-queen


https://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-62834633


https://www.foxnews.com/live-news/queen-elizabeth-ii-news-health-prince-charles


https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/queen-elizabeth-health/?id=89519988


https://people.com/royals/queen-elizabeth-final-appearance-just-days-before-death-appointing-new-prime-minister-scotland/


https://archewell.com/


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/queen-mourned-globally-as-a-stabilizing-force-in-tumultuous-age/ar-AA11CkiC?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=462c35533151435191ad0b34ea0c967a


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/topic/queen%20elizabeth%20II?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=462c35533151435191ad0b34ea0c967a


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/biden-mourns-queen-elizabeth-ii-a-stateswoman-of-unmatched-dignity/ar-AA11Cfbf?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/weddings/how-queen-elizabeth-ii-defined-her-own-elegant-fashion-legacy/ar-AA11C81u?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/10-things-to-know-about-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-life/ar-AA11Cetn?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/royals/the-day-queen-elizabeth-ii-sang-the-u-s-national-anthem-after-9-11/ar-AA11CMbS?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/united-kingdom-enters-period-of-mourning-here-s-what-to-expect-in-the-coming-days/ar-AA11CSek?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/king-charles-iii-expresses-greatest-sadness-over-mother-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-death-world-reacts/ar-AA11CabI?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d3a1d8e5586c41e6821a5026ddab0ab0


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/university-condemns-professor-s-posts-wishing-queen-excruciating-death/ar-AA11CyOC?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=ba5d65eebdb94d81adc976f7d97145eb


https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/queen-elizabeth-health/?id=89519988


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/world/europe/photos-queen-elizabeth-mourning.html


https://www.cnn.com/uk/live-news/queen-elizabeth-health-concerns-intl-gbr/index.html


https://people.com/royals/queen-elizabeth-final-appearance-just-days-before-death-appointing-new-prime-minister-scotland/


Monday, September 5, 2022

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Years Later, She Was No Fraud

 

Christopher Hitchens was wrong about Mother Teresa

In 1994, the journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens published a book called The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, in which he accused the Nobel Peace Prize laureate of being a fraud, a fanatic, and a friend of dictators. He claimed that she exploited the poor, neglected their medical needs, and imposed her religious views on them. He also alleged that she received millions of dollars in donations from dubious sources and used them for dubious purposes.

Hitchens' book sparked a controversy that has lasted for decades, with many critics and supporters of Mother Teresa weighing in on the debate. But how accurate and fair was Hitchens' portrayal of the "saint of the gutters"? Was he right to expose her flaws and question her motives, or did he distort the facts and slander her reputation?

In this blog post, I will argue that Hitchens was wrong about Mother Teresa, and that his book was a biased and misleading attack on one of the most compassionate and selfless human beings who ever lived. I will examine some of the main accusations that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa, and show why they are either false, exaggerated or irrelevant. I will also present some of the evidence that supports Mother Teresa's legacy as a genuine humanitarian and a faithful servant of God.

Mother Teresa did not exploit the poor

One of the most common charges that Hitchens leveled against Mother Teresa was that she exploited the poor and suffering people who came to her hospices, known as "Homes for the Dying". He claimed that she did not provide them with adequate medical care, pain relief or hygiene, but rather let them die in agony and filth, while telling them that their suffering was a gift from God and a way to salvation.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's work and philosophy. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa's hospices were not hospitals or clinics, but places where people who had no one else to care for them could find shelter, comfort and dignity in their last moments. They were not meant to cure diseases or prolong life, but to offer love and respect to those who were rejected by society and abandoned by their families. As Mother Teresa herself said: "We are not here to solve all the problems of the world but to touch those whom we can with the love of Christ."

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa denied or neglected the medical needs of her patients. She had a team of doctors and nurses who visited her hospices regularly and provided basic medical care, such as antibiotics, bandages, vaccinations and vitamins. She also referred some of her patients to hospitals or clinics when they needed more advanced treatment or surgery. She did not oppose modern medicine or science, but rather used them as tools to serve the poor. She even accepted an honorary degree from Harvard Medical School in 1982, where she praised the achievements of medical science and urged the students to use their skills for the benefit of humanity.

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa imposed her religious views on her patients or forced them to convert to Catholicism. She respected the faith and culture of each person she served, regardless of their religion or background. She did not baptize anyone without their consent or knowledge, as Hitchens falsely claimed. She only offered spiritual guidance and prayers to those who asked for them or expressed an interest in them. She also encouraged interfaith dialogue and cooperation among different religious groups. She once said: "There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore, it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God."

Mother Teresa did not receive money from dubious sources

Another accusation that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa was that she received millions of dollars in donations from corrupt or criminal sources, such as dictators, fraudsters, and arms dealers. He claimed that she accepted money from people like Charles Keating, Robert Maxwell, Jean-Claude Duvalier, and Enver Hoxha, without questioning their motives or morality. He also alleged that she used the money for dubious purposes, such as building convents or supporting anti-abortion campaigns, rather than helping the poor.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's finances and activities. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa did not personally handle or manage the money that was donated to her organization, known as the Missionaries of Charity. She had a team of accountants and auditors who were responsible for keeping track of the funds and ensuring their proper use. She also had a board of trustees who oversaw the financial affairs of the organization and made decisions about its projects and programs.

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa accepted money from anyone without checking their background or ethics. She had a policy of not accepting donations from sources that were involved in activities that contradicted her values or principles, such as violence, oppression, or injustice. She also returned or refused donations that came with strings attached or conditions that interfered with her mission or vision. She once said: "We do not accept money that has blood on it."

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa used the money for dubious purposes or wasted it on unnecessary expenses. She used the money for various humanitarian and social causes, such as building and running schools, orphanages, leprosy clinics, AIDS centers, soup kitchens, shelters, and hospices around the world. She also supported various campaigns and initiatives that promoted human dignity and rights, such as the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of refugees, and the prevention of child trafficking. She was transparent and accountable about her spending and reporting and submitted annual reports to the Vatican and other authorities.

Mother Teresa was not a friend of dictators

Another accusation that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa was that she was a friend of dictators and tyrants and that she praised or supported them in exchange for favors or recognition. He claimed that she endorsed or legitimized regimes that were responsible for atrocities, human rights violations and oppression, such as those of Albania, Haiti, Nicaragua and Guatemala. He also alleged that she ignored or dismissed the suffering and grievances of the people who lived under those regimes, and that she betrayed her own principles of peace and justice.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's diplomacy and politics. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa was not a politician or a diplomat, but a humanitarian and a religious leader. She did not have any political agenda or affiliation, but rather followed her conscience and her faith. She did not seek or accept any political power or influence, but rather used her moral authority and reputation to advocate for the poor and the oppressed.

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa praised or supported dictators or tyrants. She did not endorse or legitimize any regime or ideology, but rather challenged them to respect human dignity and rights. She did not ignore or dismiss the suffering and grievances of the people who lived under those regimes, but rather spoke out for them and offered them assistance. She also criticized and condemned violence and injustice wherever she saw them, regardless of who committed them or why. She once said: "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful."

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa betrayed her own principles of peace and justice. She did not compromise or dilute her values or principles, but rather lived them out in her words and actions. She did not avoid or evade conflict or controversy, but rather faced them with courage and compassion. She also forgave and reconciled with those who wronged her or opposed her, regardless of their status or position. She once said: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have shown that Christopher Hitchens was wrong about Mother Teresa and that his book was a biased and misleading attack on one of the most compassionate and selfless human beings who ever lived. I have examined some of the main accusations that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa, and shown why they are either false, exaggerated, or irrelevant. I have also presented some of the evidence that supports Mother Teresa's legacy as a genuine humanitarian and a faithful servant of God.

Ironically, Hitchens was hired to be the devil's advocate in the cause of Mother Teresa.  His job was to show evidence of why should did not live an exemplary holy life. He failed miserably to convince the Vatican.

Mother Teresa was not a fraud, a fanatic, or a friend of dictators. She was a saint, a hero, and a friend of the poor. She is still remembered today while Hitchens is forgotten, only existing in silly memes on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.  


Here are some references that challenge Hitchens' allegations and defend Mother Teresa's legacy:

*Sources:*

1. [The Atheist Vs. The Saint: Why Christopher Hitchens 'Hated' Mother Teresa](https://www.christianpost.com/news/the-atheist-vs-the-saint-why-christopher

- [Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image](https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Teresa-Beyond-Image-Anniversary/dp/0385491370) by Anne Sebba. This book is a balanced and sympathetic biography of Mother Teresa that explores her motivations, challenges, and achievements.

- [Unmasking Mother Teresa's Critics](https://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Mother-Teresas-Critics-Bill/dp/1621640407) by Bill Donohue. This book is a rebuttal of Hitchens' book The Missionary Position and other critics of Mother Teresa. It exposes the flaws and fallacies of their arguments and provides factual evidence to support her sanctity.

- [Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light](https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Teresa-Private-Writings-Calcutta/dp/0307589234) by Brian Kolodiejchuk. This book is a collection of Mother Teresa's personal letters that reveal her inner struggles, doubts, and joys. It shows her deep love for God and her desire to follow his will.

- [Mother Teresa: The Case for The Cause](https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/mother-teresa-the-case-for-the-cause.html) by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk. This article is a summary of the process and evidence for Mother Teresa's beatification and canonization. It addresses some of the common objections and misconceptions about her life and work.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Pope Francis 'We cannot go backwards...'

Sunday Mass at St. Dominic parish in the Bronx

 Liturgy is the most important prayer of the Church.  Christ is present in the Liturgy both in the person of the priest and in the Sacramental sense. Since the onset of Traditionis Custodes, the Liturgy has come up a lot among Catholic circles. Some see the motu propio as an assault against so-called "Traditionalists" and the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, while others applaud it as the Vatican's attempt to bring unity and restore a sound understanding of the Liturgy.  Today, Pope Francis made some interesting comments.  He said that the liturgy must be nurtured with care and never be neglected or abused.  He added, "The liturgy is Christ's work and the Church's, and as such, it is a living body."  Furthermore, he stated that the liturgy "is not a monument made of marble or bronze, it's not a museum piece. The liturgy is alive like a plant, and it must be nurtured with care" and never be "neglected or mistreated."  Moreover, he criticized those who want the Extraordinary Form to return by calling it "going backward" and stated that there is a "worldly spirit" behind this that is "disguised as tradition."

What does he mean by this? Well, let us begin with the issue.  After Vatican II, St. Paul VI introduced the Ordinary Form of the Mass which we use today. The rite is much simpler than the Extraordinary Form but is the same Mass (see: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/mass-is-the-same-8968). In other words, there are not two different Masses with the Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form. They are both the same Mass using different formulas.  However, some did not accept this introduction and rebelled claiming modernism entered the Church and a "New World Order" sect took over. This eventually led to the pejorative term "Novus Ordo" which is erroneously applied to the Ordinary Form of the Mass in an attempt to diminish its validity as a mere innovation. The Extraordinary Form was then embellished with the terms "True Mass," "Mass of all Ages," "Traditional Mass," and "Traditional Latin Mass."  These terms attempt to pit the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms against each other. Neither of the aforementioned is used in the Catholic Church, Liturgical documents, or even by liturgists. Any educated Catholic knows that there is no "traditional" point of the rites of the Mass. It has been developing for years. In fact, the rite from 500 AD is not the same as the one from Trent and the one from Trent is not the same as the one from 1962. The true traditional Mass was the one at the Last Supper which was in Aramaic, not Greek or Latin.  By the way, Greek is an older liturgical language which defeats the claim that Latin is some special language in which the Mass must be said so as for it to be valid and sacred. Latin has no more power than English, Spanish, or any other vernacular.  Nevertheless, some insist that Latin must be used and that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is the "Traditional Mass" despite historical and liturgical documentation showing otherwise.  

The Ordinary Form is not some innovation. It is the rite closer to the one used in the Early Church if we read the Apologia by St. Justin Martyr which shows one of the earliest accounts of the Mass outside of the New Testament. There is some that claim that modernists were responsible for the changes. This is not so. We must remember that the bishops who participated in Vatican II were all trained to say the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This is all they knew.  It would be hard-pressed to believe that these bishops woke one morning with the idea to innovate the Mass.  These men were all silk, ermine, biretta-wearing clerics who spoke Latin.  There was no agenda to change anything or make the Church Protestant. On this point, some claim that Protestant observers invited to Vatican II had input on the "Novus Ordo Mass." This is also a falsehood. These Protestant ministers were simply observers. The Council of Trent even had Protestant observers (see: session 13, chapter 8  Library : Vatican II & Ecumenism: What did the Council Really Say? | Catholic Culture). There are also absurd claims that Eucharistic prayers were written on a napkin during a dinner between clerics. All of this is just nonsense worthy of Alex Jones and his Infowars program.  Some Catholics just are lazy and do not want to research the facts. They are quick to adopt conspiracies because they are easy to process and no study is needed to vet them. 

These ideas harm the Church and the Liturgy and is why Pope Francis calls it "backwardism" which he described in these words: "is a temptation in the life of the church that leads you to worldly restorationism, disguised as liturgy and theology."  The pope condemns the impulse to go backward by stating that this is worldly, or an idea based on worldly attraction.  In other words, the Liturgy is being turned into a show or thing that we must enjoy or must serve our palates instead of the prayer that brings us to look up to Christ as the people of God.  He stated, "We need more than ever today an exalted vision of the liturgy so that it is not reduced to rambling about rubrical detail or liturgical rules." He is correct. Those who solely want the Extraordinary Form and condemn everything else have turned the rite into mere rambling and focus on externals. The rite then fails to inspire conversion and spiritual growth. It because a sort of sports theater with Yankee fans fighting Red Sox fans on who truly represents baseball.  The soul of the game is lost and becomes trivial. 

Similarly, the liturgy loses its sacredness and becomes someone's personal taste. Pope Francis stated, "The liturgy is not a worldly festivity, nor should it feel gloomy or funeral. It is filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and it celebrates the beauty and grandeur of the mystery of God, who gives himself to us."  This is important.  One of the good points those who want the return of the Extraordinary Form to return make is that the Ordinary Form is often transformed into a performance. Recently, actor Shia LaBeouf who is playing St. Padre Pio in an upcoming film stated in an interview with Bishop Barron that in the Extraordinary Form he does not feel like he is being sold a car. It is unclear what he meant by this, but he must be alluding to the attempts by some pastors into turning the Ordinary Form into a form of entertainment or human experience. No one can deny that the introduction of the Ordinary Form did not go smoothly. There is in fact a loss of the sacred in many parishes. The Ordinary Form is often disrupted with signs of peace, collections, announcements, applause, and so on.  Music is often used in the Ordinary Form which takes away from the sacred and makes it mundane. This is not to say that the music is wrong, but how it is implemented often takes on an entertainment atmosphere.  

There is a way to celebrate the Ordinary Form with dignity and sacredness, but unfortunately, not many priests know how to do this and the people have been accustomed to the pauses and disruptions. One such disruption is the sign of peace which gives no time for the Lamb of God. It is often seen that as the priest is breaking the host by saying "Lamb of God.." the people are still shaking hands, hugging each other with some even running around the aisles attempting to say hello to everyone. These things are a disaster for the Mass and Eucharist.  It is no wonder why over 70% of Catholics do not believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Would we be running around or shaking hands while Queen Elizabeth or the US President is before us?  Probably not, so why should we be doing this before the King of kings and Lord of lords in the Holy Eucharist?  This is why the pope is correct in stating that the Mass is not a worldly festival nor should it be gloomy or have a feel as if it were a funeral. We can see this a lot in the Extraordinary Form where the rite can often be too serious, too gloomy, and disconnected from the people.  We see the priest alone or with a server at the altar while the people sit watching as if it were a show. The priest is nearly always with a resting face like Spock of Star Trek or a Vulcan from the series. It becomes robotic.  We must assume that when Jesus had the Last Supper and said, "take and eat... take and drink.." He must have had some facial expression showing humanity and warmth inviting them to "take and eat.. take and drink."  

There must be a healthy balance of seriousness and humanity in the Liturgy. As Pope Francis said, "The liturgy must make people raise their eyes to heaven, to feel that the mystery of Christ dwells in the world and life and, at the same time, it must be a liturgy for the good of humanity, with its feet on the ground and not removed from people's lives. The liturgy should be serious (and) close to the people."  We as Catholics must work hard to bring the Liturgy to this level and the bishops must enforce it.  If not, then all is lost. The Liturgy becomes nothing more than our personal taste that sustains our palate. 


What do you think? Post in the Disqus below. Be sure to follow the rules for commentary.  







Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/liturgy-is-a-living-body-pope-says/98624

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