Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Pope Encourages Drinking - Why He Is Wrong

Recently the pope made some comments regarding wine. He said it is a "gift from God" and "a true source of joy."  The comments were made during a private audience at the Vatican attended by Italian winemakers.  The Vatican is known for having the largest consumption of wine per capita against any other nation in the world.  What are we to make of the pope's comments?  

Well, first of all, his opinion is not official teaching, so we do not have to follow every word he says. If the pope says the Yankees are the best team in the world or God's team, we can dismiss his comments as his personal opinion. Second, wine is not a gift from God any more than soda. While the ingredients were created by God, the new substance is man-made. Thirdly, the pope's comments were irresponsible.  Over 140,000 people die due to alcohol in the United States alone. These deaths stem from driving while intoxicated, poisoning from drinking too much alcohol, and other tragedies including domestic violence. Many times, children are the ones caught in the latter.  (See: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-related-emergencies-and-deaths-united-states#:~:text=The%20Alcohol%2DRelated%20Disease%20Impact,behind%20tobacco%2C%20poor%20diet%20and). 


The CDC or Center for Disease Control states:


Short-Term Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:


Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.6,7

Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.6-10

Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.11

Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.12,13

Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.6,12,14,15

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:


High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.6,16

Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.6,17

Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.6,16

Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.6,18

Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.6,19

Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment.6,20,21

Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.5

By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.

(Source: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm#:~:text=Long%2DTerm%20Health%20Risks,liver%20disease%2C%20and%20digestive%20problems.)


The National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states the effects of alcohol on the body:


Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.  Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:


Brain:

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.  


Heart:

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:


Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle

Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat

Stroke

High blood pressure  

Liver:

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:


Steatosis, or fatty liver

Alcoholic hepatitis

Fibrosis

Cirrhosis

Pancreas:

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation in the pancreas that causes its swelling and pain (which may spread) and impairs its ability to make enzymes and hormones for proper digestion. 


Cancer:

According to the National Cancer Institute: "There is a strong scientific consensus that alcohol drinking can cause several types of cancer. In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen.


"The evidence indicates that the more alcohol a person drinks–particularly the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time–the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer. Even those who have no more than one drink per day and people who binge drink (those who consume 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men in one sitting) have a modestly increased risk of some cancers. Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States (about 19,500 deaths were alcohol related."


Clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and increased risks of certain types of cancer:


Head and neck cancer, including oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx cancers.

Esophageal cancer, particularly esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, people who inherit a deficiency in an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol have been found to have substantially increased risks of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma if they consume alcohol.

Liver cancer.

Breast cancer: Studies have consistently found an increased risk of breast cancer in women with increasing alcohol intake. Women who consume about 1 drink per day have a 5 to 9 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.

Colorectal cancer.


(Source: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body)


Even a little consumption of alcohol opens oneself up to dangerous health problem. A Study in November of 2023 highlighted this (see: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2798004 and the article https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/13/well/mind/alcohol-health-effects.html).  This is important for everyone to know. We are not sure if even the pope is made aware of this. Moreover, Pope Francis has brought a lot of attention to the Climate Change crisis the he issued the encyclical Laudato Si. In it, he expresses the scientists' concerns that man-made activities are causing the earth to warm which then leads to climate disasters.  Yet here he is praising the wine industry which does a lot to cause harm to the earth and adds to the climate change crisis.  The production of wine adds a huge carbon footprint on the world. The process of making wine alters the soil and pollutes it and the water, as well as the air. This is just the processing of grapes. We cannot forget about the fermentation process and industrial process of bottling which creates fumes that go into the atmosphere while making the wine, not to forget the consumption of energy, mostly fossil fuels for the machinery which in turn is released into the atmosphere as co2, the main cause of global warming (see: https://greenly.earth/en-us/blog/ecology-news/what-is-the-carbon-footprint-of-the-wine-industry  and  https://www.infowine.com/intranet/libretti/libretto12728-02-1.pdf.  It is hypocritical of the pope to show concern for the environment while at the same time endorsing a business that adds considerably to the climate change crisis. Here in Laudato Si he quotes his predecessors showing the concern for human activities and how they harm the planet was always a concern for the Church:


4. In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”.[2] He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, inasmuch as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man”.[3]


5. Saint John Paul II became increasingly concerned about this issue. In his first Encyclical he warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption”.[4] Subsequently, he would call for a global ecological conversion.[5] At the same time, he noted that little effort had been made to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology”.[6] The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”.[7] Authentic human development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and “take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system”.[8] Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is.[9]


6. My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment”.[10] He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since “the book of nature is one and indivisible”, and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that “the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence”.[11] Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have forgotten that “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature”.[12] With paternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed “where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves”.[13]


(Source: Laudato Si -https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html)


How can Pope Francis in good faith preach the dangers of Climate Change while endorsing a business that adds to Global Warming and produces a drug that kills hundreds of thousands a year and hurts families? 

There are even books out there about "saints that drink" and social media posts presenting the drink as something cool or fun. It is just distasteful, irrational, reckless, and bad optics.  We as Catholics in general need to put disclaimers about alcohol use and not try to use the saints to make drinking "cool" or beneficial.  The truth is Alcohol hurts so many families and people. It should not be celebrated or presented as a virtue. Growing up in the Bronx I witnessed many families and kids' lives destroyed by this vice. A glass of wine may not immediately lead to ruin, but it is the starting point that leads to addiction. Addiction starts somewhere, right? It is not just something that happens spontaneously. 

Alcohol rewires the brain. About 20% is absorbed immediately from the stomach into the bloodstream. Just a small amount increased stomach juice production which leads to an increase in appetite. This causes the drinker to want more. Remember 20% was absorbed already, so the brain starts to desire it more. Once in the bloodstream, it widens your blood vessels making feel warmth. However, the body begins to lose heat, and blood pressure drops. In the brain, it starts to weaken the parts that control the body. The brain cannot make clear decisions. Filters are gone. It begins to change your mood by making feel moody or depressed, even aggressive. The more alcohol enters, the more you will be susceptible to slurring of words, blurry vision, and loss of coordination. In the kidneys, it dehydrates and forces the body to produce more urine. This loss of urine then causes the body to want more liquid. The liquid is of course alcohol. When it enters the liver, 95% of it gets processed creating water and carbon monoxide. Yes, carbon monoxide the poisonous substance! This is why it causes heavy damage to the liver. Just one sip of alcohol either wine or beer brings about an increase in dopamine. I can go on and on about what science says, but I think we get the idea that this stuff is just not as "good."  It is a psychological placebo that gives you the impression it is good.  Like the devil coming like an angel of light offering you the world as he did to Jesus in the desert.  Are we strong enough like Jesus to say no and get away Satan?

Drinking alcohol has NO BENEFITS at all unless you hate life and want out or hate people and want to harass them while intoxicated. This is why I applaud our separated Protestant friends who choose the route of temperance and avoid this vice. Just because you have a mouth does not mean you can drink gasoline because you have the will for it. Just because you can taste sugar does not mean you should consume sacks of it. Alcohol is different. It is literally a toxin. There is nothing good about it at all unless you are pouring it on a wound to disinfect it. That is about the only thing good about it. Even a small amount is dangerous when consumed orally.  

What I found disturbing is that some Catholics will go at any length to defend alcoholism.  They will do this more than defend the Church's actual teachings.  This is typical of addicts who are in denial. We can see the effects of alcohol already in these people and they are not even aware of it.  Some will argue and bring up the miracle at Cana. I was just having this discussion with a laywoman on Facebook yesterday and corrected the misconception. I also did this on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.  

If you study the Bible and history professionally and academically you would know the wine used in biblical times is much different than the one used now, not to mention that beer is a completely different substance. Ancient wine was diluted. They were poured and mixed with water in amphorae jars. The modern alcohol content we have today was not what Jesus had at Cana. The distillation process used to make modern alcoholic beverages came later on in the 7 to 8th centuries by Arabs. The Mishnah and Talmud show that the normal dilution rate among the Jews was 3 parts water to 1 part wine. B. Shabbath 77a says that wine that does not mix well with three parts water is not true wine. B. Pesahim 108b states that the wine consumed during Passover was 3:1 wine. This was very likely the commonly accepted dilution rate among Jews of the New Testament era as well. This dilution rate reduces the alcohol content of New Testament wine to 2.75 to 3.0 percent. So it is not the same thing. This is why some alcoholic priests or priests with digestion issues are allowed to use what is called mustum.  Moreover, alcohol is not the matter necessary to confect the Sacrament in Holy Communion. This is why, as stated, the Church allows mustum to be used.  

Everything must be used in moderation. The Catechism states this and makes it clear that food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine cannot be abused or taken in excess:


2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.


The Sacred Scriptures or the Bible also says a lot about wine.  It mentions wine in these passages and even encourages its use in moderation and in other places condemns it (Lev 10:9; Num 6:3; Deut 14:26; 29:6; Jud 13:4, 7, 14; 1 Sam 1:15; Prov 31:4; Mic 2:11; cf. Prov 20:1; 31:6; Is 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:7; 56:12; Lk 1:15; Deut 21:20; Prov 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-21, 29-35; 26:9; Is 5:11-12; Rom 13:13; Rom 14:21; 1 Cor 5:11; 6:10; Gal 5:21; 1 Tim 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7; 2:3; 1 Pet 4:3). So we seen wine has been a drink mentioned throughout biblical times and its use was often recommended for celebration, ailments and even religious ceremonies while warnings were often given for its use as well. 

Jesus partook in events with wine as we read in Matt 11:19; Lk 7:33, Jn 2:1.  Jesus was even accused of being a drunk and glutton because of His "partying," so to speak.  Moreover, we read how wine was used for religious purposes (Ex 29:40; 1 Sam 1:24, Mt 26:17 ff.; Mk 14:12 ff.; Lk 22:15 ff.; Jn 13:1).  It is important that we present the facts so that the reader can make his or her conclusion.  

Remember, drinking is not part of the Catholic faith. What we mean by this is that drinking, smoking, and so on are not required by the Catholic faith. We do not have to drink wine, coffee, tea soda, water, juice, or even smoke to be practicing Catholics in good standing. These vices are performed on the individual's conscience and free will. Nowhere in the Church's teachings, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, or the Magisterium does it say that we need to drink or smoke in order to become holy, serve Christ, or make it to heaven. Books, social media posts and commentaries out there from clergy, the laity, religious, or even the pope on drinking and smoking are their personal opinions based on their palates.  You are not obliged to try their recommendations or engage in vices because they mentioned them or praised them. 

Let me be clear. I never said we should ban alcohol. I am saying these posts and comments from the pope do not help our faith. If we are teaching people to be virtuous and care for themselves, their bodies, and the earth, then we should not be endorsing substances or behaviors that contradict what we are trying to teach the world.  For example, imagine if I preach on the street that drunkards will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven and then take a break and go to the corner store and get a beer to drink. What will the people I just preached to think?  I would become a clown, a charlatan.  

St Augustine is quoted as stating “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow. How can we do this by making choices to drink toxins?  

1 Corinthians 6:19 says the human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Do we take care of temples or destroy them intentionally?  We must take care of our temples, both the body and the buildings we use for the Sacraments.  Nowhere in Catholic teaching does it say to destroy the body or ignore health. That is a pro-choice stance, not pro-life.  Caring for our health is part of Church teaching: 


"Everyone has the duty to care for his or her own health or to seek such care from others. Those whose task it is to care for the sick must do so conscientiously and administer the remedies that seem necessary or useful." 
-  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Euthanasia, 1980 (https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19800505_euthanasia_en.html)


So in conclusion, we need to do better. The world has a spotlight on us and will catch us whenever we show a slight contradiction between what we believe what we say and how we act.  It is 2024, and we have advanced in science. We know the dangers of alcohol, so why promote it?  We have psychology and know the human mind is frail. We cannot expect human beings to know what "moderation" is via second nature.  Unfortunately, self-control is not exceptionally hardwired in us. This is why we have so many people addicted to drugs, alcohol, smoking, and even food or hoarding.  Hopefully, this post will educate you so that you make an informed decision about whether to drink or not. Now that you know the dangers and the religious reasons surrounding drinking you can hopefully avoid intoxication, hurting others, death, and causing the death of others.  

Everything in moderation. Also, note that some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism, so even a taste can cause addiction.   It is just not worth it.  People in biblical times did not know about genetics and did not anticipate the creation of vehicles, but they did know how drunks behaved. This is why the characters in Scripture often encouraged moderation.  The same applies to Church figures in history. They are a product of their time and understanding. We know better now and our future descendants will know even more and will hopefully solve the problem of alcohol abuse.  Hopefully, the Church's teaching will develop on this just like it did with the death penalty which is now inadmissible. Maybe one day a better-educated pope who values health science will enforce a non-alcoholic stance knowing the dangers of drinking.  

Please do not drink and drive. Drink very little and do not make it a daily thing. Be considerate of your family, especially children.  They do not need to see you staggering around like a zombie or walker from The Walking Dead with slurred speech and a violent or annoying demeanor. 


What do you think? Post on Disque below. Remember to follow the rules so your comment is allowed.  



If you need help with substance abuse, in particular, alcohol, call:

SAMHSA National Helpline

Confidential free help, from public health agencies, to find substance use treatment and information.  

1-800-662-4357




Source:

Wine is a gift from God, Pope Francis tells Italian producers | Pope Francis | The Guardian

Pope: Wine is a gift from God - The Catholic Thing

Why does the Vatican drink so much wine? | Wine | The Guardian

Wine, working the land, selling its fruits are gifts from God, pope says | National Catholic Reporter (ncronline.org)

Pope Francis Addresses Crowd at Vatican: 'Wine is For Everyone' | VinePair

The Pope says 'wine is a gift from God' and a 'true source of joy' as he jokes about appearing 'drunk' | Daily Mail Online


Friday, January 26, 2024

Pope Francis Confirms No Blessings for Gay Unions ONLY Imperfect Individuals


Pope Francis today confirmed to the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith that the recent declaration Fiducia Supplicans does not endorse blessing gay couples or unions, but the people or individuals. He also added that perfection is not needed to request and receive a blessing. There were his words:

"...the intention of pastoral and spontaneous blessings is to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask for help to carry forward - sometimes to start - a journey of faith. I would like to briefly underline two things: the first is that these blessings, outside of any context and form of a liturgical nature, do not require moral perfection to be received; the second, that when a couple spontaneously approaches to ask for them, the union is not blessed, but simply the people who together have requested it. Not the union, but the people, naturally taking into account the context, sensitivities, places where they live and the most suitable ways to do it."

Since its release, Fiducia Supplicans has caused an uproar around the Catholic Church and even in other denominations who looked to the firm stance of the Catholic Church against homosexuality as their support.  Upon its release, the secular media immediately posted headlines that the Pope approved the blessing of same-sex unions. Some alleged Catholic accounts on social media and even Catholic priests who adopt leftist views were celebrating the document claiming the Church was now going to bless same-sex unions. This was far from the truth.

See our previous posts on Fiducia Supplicans here: 

https://www.sacerdotus.com/2023/12/pope-francis-okays-blessing-of-gay.html

https://www.sacerdotus.com/2024/01/cardinal-fernandez-to-liberals-in-press.html

 


The confusion caused the majority of Catholic bishops to reject the document and firmly state that they would not have their priests bless any same-sex couples.  As you can see above in the X (formerly Twitter) posts by alleged Catholic and Franciscan University alumni Thomas Polega, some jumped to conclusions posting falsehoods about Fiducia Supplicans. Perhaps they did not read the document or simply believed the headlines from the secular media.   

Again, the Catholic Church cannot bless sin. A same-sex couple is a manifestation of sin because it defies God's plan of a male and female complemented union.  Only a male and female can love each other, get married, and be open to children. Other unions are just imitations of this and are not willed by God.  

The Catholic Church can bless any imperfect sinner as the Pope stated, but she cannot bless any unions however irregular; only the individuals within those unions.  We at Sacerdotus are glad that the Holy Father has clarified this. Hopefully, Thomas and others who adopt a leftist stance can truly grasp how the Catholic Church works.


What do you think? Post your comments below on Disqus. Follow the rules so your comment can go through. 




Source:

https://www.ilmessaggero.it/en/pope_francis_defends_the_blessing_of_homosexual_individuals_amidst_controversy-7896241.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/bless-the-person-not-the-gay-union-says-pope/ar-BB1hirbn

https://www.christianpost.com/news/pope-defends-vatican-guidance-on-same-sex-couples.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/why-reported-ufo-sightings-will-drop/vi-BB1hin0g?ocid=msedgntp&pc=HCTS&cvid=43f05e0052964ccdbbe01676c691759f&ei=16

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pope-says-lgbt-blessings-are-for-individuals-not-approval-of-unions/ar-BB1hiDBj?ocid=msedgntp&pc=HCTS&cvid=43f05e0052964ccdbbe01676c691759f&ei=6

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256654/pope-francis-blessings-don-t-require-moral-perfection

Thursday, January 25, 2024

No Evidence John Corapi Returned to a Monastery

Back in 2015, we wrote a post about the claims presented by amateur journalist Matt Abbot. Abbot has claimed for over a decade that former priest Mr. John Corapi was returning to ministry. Despite his claims, nothing happened. 

 His articles made bare assertions without evidence. He relied on anonymous sources to push his claims. In our post, we showed evidence of why it was doubtful that Corapi would return to ministry. We presented the accusations presented against him by women and his religious institution. 

However, the nail in the coffin, so to speak, was the professional LinkedIn page we presented that was created by John Corapi. A few fanatics of Corapi attacked us claiming the page was fabricated, but any intelligent person would see that the credentials posted there could only have been known by Corapi himself. Moreover, the private photos of him could only have come from him. There was no other source for them online. 

You can see our post here: https://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/11/john-corapi-is-back-returned-to-faith.html. Abbot is now at it again making a new claim. He writes in a new article that Catholic lay evangelist, Jesse Romero told him that Corapi returned to his religious community and is now living a life as a monk via penance. As with previous claims, no evidence was provided. We are left to believe Romero and Abbot at their word (see: A friend of Corapi speaks (renewamerica.com)).  For the rational person, this is simply not enough. 

As our previous post shows, Corapi was accused of serious things. He was sexting, having a sexual affair with a woman, using drugs, and living a life contrary to his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. He refused to return to the religious institution that had been there for him and allowed him to become the great preacher he was. Once again, Corapi was facing serious charges which were substantiated with hard evidence. In light of this, there is no way the Church via a diocese or order would take him back. 

It is extremely rare for the Church to bring back a wayward cleric or cleric who was laicized. The Catholic Church is an institution that is concerned heavily with optics and has a deep interest in controlling finances. This is why many dioceses or orders discriminate against people with disabilities, of age, and of social class when they claim to have a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate or religious life. These people are often rejected on the grounds that they are a financial burden for the diocese or order. There are just some of the canons in Canon law about wayward clerics for you to get the idea of how seriously the Church takes abuse of the priesthood: 

 TITLE V. OFFENCES AGAINST SPECIAL OBLIGATIONS (Cann. 1392 - 1396) 

  • Can. 1392— A cleric who voluntarily and unlawfully abandons the sacred ministry, for six months continuously, with the intention of withdrawing himself from the competent Church authority, is to be punished, according to the gravity of the offence, with suspension or additionally with the penalties established in can. 1336 §§ 2-4, and in the more serious cases may be dismissed from the clerical state. 
  • Can. 1393 — § 1. A cleric or religious who engages in trading or business contrary to the provisions of the canons is to be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336 §§ 2-4, according to the gravity of the offence. § 2. A cleric or religious who, apart from the cases already foreseen by the law, commits an offence in a financial matter, or gravely violates the stipulations contained in can. 285 § 4, is to be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336 §§ 2-4, without prejudice to the obligation of repairing the harm. 
  • Can. 1394— § 1. A cleric who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae suspension, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 194 § 1 n. 3, and 694 § 1 n. 2. If, after warning, he has not reformed or continues to give scandal, he must be progressively punished by deprivations, or even by dismissal from the clerical state. § 2. Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 694 § 1 n. 2, a religious in perpetual vows who is not a cleric but who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae interdict. 
  • Can. 1395— § 1. A cleric living in concubinage, other than in the case mentioned in can. 1394, and a cleric who continues in some other external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue which causes scandal, is to be punished with suspension. To this, other penalties can progressively be added if after a warning he persists in the offence, until eventually he can be dismissed from the clerical state. § 2. A cleric who has offended in other ways against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the offence was committed in public, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants. § 3. A cleric who by force, threats or abuse of his authority commits an offence against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue or forces someone to perform or submit to sexual acts is to be punished with the same penalty as in § 2. 
  • Can. 1396— A person who gravely violates the obligation of residence to which he is bound by reason of an ecclesiastical office is to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding, after a warning, deprivation of the office. 


  • Source: https://www.vatican.va/archive/cod-iuris-canonici/eng/documents/cic_lib6-cann1364-1399_en.html#OFFENCES_AGAINST_CHURCH_AUTHORITIES__ 

So as you can read here, Canon Law is serious about priests committing offenses and disrespecting the office of the priesthood. That being stated, there is no way the SOLT congregation or any diocese would take Corapi back after all he did. As we have seen with priests who have abused children, especially McCarrick, the former cardinal, these former clerics are stripped of everything and practically shunned. Many times the idea of mercy gets lost in this where sinners and criminals are just thrown out like trash. This is the unfortunate truth. What are we to make of Corapi? 

Well, because neither Romero nor Abbot have backed up their claims we need to go to the actual evidence. First, we see the LinkedIn page by John Corapi shows the best evidence that he has not returned to the Church. As stated before, some have claimed the profile is fake. But let us examine the facts. Corapi was quick to sue people for defamation, yet nothing has been done against this profile on LinkedIn. If this profile is false, Corapi would have gone after it by having it removed, yet it is still up. Corapi definitely has the money to hire lawyers to sue or get the profile removed, yet it is still active. We can surmise that this page is in fact authentic and belongs to him. Moreover, all over the internet, we can see property records and addresses in Montana linked to John Corapi. Here are some examples:

    On Patrick Madrid's website, a commentator wrote this: 
    John2 says: March 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm Poor people of America ! Cast your so deeply embedded naivete aside ! Though your collective naivete is pitiable, it borders on folly, and thus unpardonable. The posts on this and other sites reporting this story are truly frightening. They go to the very heart of what is wrong with the church in America. Any independent observer, upon reading the comments here, or upon visiting the man’s website, will immediately be struck by the combination of: 1. an unhealthy cult of the individual the man has cultivated amongst his naive followers, combined with 2. naked self-promotion, buttressed by the powerful marketing machinery behind the Corapi “brand” (i.e. Santa Cruz media) 3. A murky “credibility” which has been established by his “touching” story of personal “conversion”. How so many of you fail to see the evident and deeply-rooted character flaws of the man, how you blindly place so much trust in “servants of God” who so evidently use the gospel as a vehicle for personal advancement and enrichment is incomprehensible. One needs but visit the man’s website, look at his videos and “products” to see that he is a shameless self-promoter, a peddler of cheap and poor taste spiritual wares, all designed for vainglorious and economic puposes, though wrapped in a cute little spiritual wrapper, which sadly, albeit predictably, the vast majority of Americans fail to see through. One need only watch his videos to shudder at the strange voice, the brazen self-confidence, the evident lack of prayer life and absence of holiness that are so immediately apparent. How so many of you fail to see this is beyond me. People, I make an appeal to you: read the statement by a certain Bobbi Ruffato, Vice President of Santa Cruz Media, Fr Corapi’s marketing engine, and see therein the number of red flags, which should alarm you. Do not be like the SEC which was blind to all the red flags surrounding Madoff ! Mr Ruffato writes: 1. “We are a secular corporation and not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. As such, we are not under the jurisdiction of any bishop or other official in the Catholic Church.” FASCINATING ! Let’s pick this statement apart, dear people. So the marketing engine of a Roman Catholic priest’s cheap spiritual wares is a “secular corporation” which is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way? Since when has the Church’s message, her truth and her ministry been funnelled through “secular corporations”? People, does that not strike you as odd? Does it not equally strike you as odd that the Vice President of this “secular corporation” deems it within his remit to criticise the procedures of the church – as the corporation is not deemed to be an organ of the church – and mix into a letter of legalese some vague statements which have spiritual connotations, like signing off “yours sincerely in Christ”, even though Santa Cruz Media has no affiliation with the Catholic Church? Finally, are you people not alarmed by the fact that the marketing engine of this “priest” claims it does not come “under the jurisdiction of any bishop or other official in the Catholic Church”? Is it not deeply frightening that the way a “priest” should “evangelise” his people is through the medium of a “secular organisation” which claims to be free of any ecclesiastical authority, in other words, giving the charlatan total free reign? Poor people of America ! When will you understand that ANY priest who draws attention to himself (Fr Corapi being a prime example), and who makes a cult figure of himself, is, in all likelihood, a fraud, a charlatan, and an instrument of Satan? 2. According to the Montana Electoral Commission, John Corapi is listed as CEO of Santa Cruz Media, Inc, a company incorporated in Nevada (where Fr Corapi used to have business interests) but with its primary address in Montana (where Fr Corapi is known to live), with John Corapi being listed as Agent for Santa Cruz Media, Inc, with a registered address in Whitefish, Montana. Property tax records also show that Fr Corapi owns numerous real estate properties in addition to Santa Cruz Media Inc., including a $70,000 dock at Eagle Bend Yacht Harbor, a large 10 acre home, several Tamarack Center Condos. 

This Facebook page lists several properties as belonging to Corapi:




   

This Public Record site lists this address for John Corapi: 




The property is shown on Realtor, see https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/555-Walker-Meadow-Rd_Whitefish_MT_59937_M77123-87072?fbclid=IwAR2hbo8Hrh6AHcQXlt4KH9tqMsueb2QKbwubSfE3pxpvLe7ha9tVrg0I59o#photo0

    * Note that the photos of the inside of the home show taxidermy items. Corapi was known to be a hunter and there are photos of him with taxidermy displays on walls in those photos. See here:








This property is also linked to Corapi (https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/270-Browns-Meadow-Rd_Kila_MT_59920_M70419-72766?fbclid=IwAR1Bty9G51k47ALgyP_ZmkWmbkhHZYdG7RM5vo35HdG8mcFsY-lmii5k-jo#photo39). 

Another Public Record site shows it linked to Corapi: 




Locate People, another public record site shows this information: 


Fast People Search, a public records site shows this information for Corapi:




It seems John Corapi may be living in Colorado now. An address with his details links him to this state as well as his voter registration record.  He is listed as a voting Republican, see:







There is much more you reading this can learn just by using Google or any other search engine. It is not difficult to do. We are not sure why Matt Abbot did not bother to do some actual journalism. As for Jesse Romero, again, he never provided evidence. He claims to be friends with Corapi, but what proof do we have? He never showed text messages, letters, emails or anything corroborating his claims. Moreover, why is he only saying this update about Corapi now and not a decade ago? When Corapi disappeared, why did Romero not give an update back then being his friend? Why is he saying something only now?  Things do not add up. 

Logically speaking, we can dismiss his claims. The absence of evidence is evidence of absence. There is no reason to believe the claims made by Romero and Abbot. 

  1. The claims are bare assertions
  2. No evidence was presented
  3. Canon Law does not allow for wayward priests to go in and out of the priesthood/religious life
  4. Corapi amasses a lot of wealth due to a lawsuit and his earnings as a preacher, why do property and tax records have him linked to properties?  A religious cannot own property.
  5. The SOLT congregation has made no announcement
  6. Why is Jesse Romero giving updates a decade later and never spoke up for his friend back in 2011 to update Corapi's fans? Remember, Corapi came out as the "Black Sheep Dog" claiming his innocence. Why did not Jesse Romero back up his friend by giving updates on how Corapi was doing a decade ago?  Why now?
  7. Matt Abbot presents claims but provides no evidence. This is bad journalism
  8. EWTN, Church Militant, and other Catholic outlets did not even bother to report on this.  We can assume they did not because the claims are false.

As you can see, things do not add up. The claims are not supported by evidence. The logic is not there.  We can easily dismiss them as fabrications based on the evidence and reason.  

Corapi was a famous priest; a celebrity priest. Perhaps Abbot and Romero are using this for their own gain. We must rely on evidence and reason, not bare assertions made by two laymen who offer nothing but their word.  "Take my word for it" is just not going to work. It is not feasible.  

Unfortunately, there are fans of Corapi out there who behave like cult members. They will insist that Corapi is still a priest and will attack those who tell the truth about him, his accusations, and his status as shown by property, public, and tax records.

We at Sacerdotus have been targeted by these cultists a few times on social media.  Nevertheless, we will be on the side of evidence, reason, and truth.  

We pray and hope Mr. John Corapi is doing well and hopefully repented.  His spiritual, mental, and physical well-being is our concern and should be the concern of others.  He has helped many Catholics come to the faith with his firebrand preaching and down-to-earth analogies.  We all sin and make mistakes. He should not be held to account any differently just because he was a priest.  He deserves mercy and redemption as well.  

Our invitation still stands for him to contact us, be a guest blogger to share his side via a post, or join us on Sacerdotus Radio to share his side of the story vocally.  


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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Why Gas Cars Hurt Environment

Why Gas Cars Hurt the Environment

Gasoline-powered cars are one of the main sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the world. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gasoline accounts for about 58% of the total energy consumption in the transportation sector in the United States, and about 44% of the total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. Gasoline combustion produces harmful byproducts such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, and formaldehyde, which can affect human health and the environment . Gasoline also emits carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming and climate change.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are often touted as a cleaner alternative to gas cars, as they do not emit tailpipe emissions and can run on renewable energy sources. However, EVs are not without environmental impacts, as they require electricity generation, battery production, and mineral extraction, which can also produce emissions and pollution. Therefore, it is important to compare the full life cycle of both types of vehicles, from cradle to grave, to assess their environmental impact.

Several studies have shown that EVs have lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than gas cars, even when accounting for the source of electricity used for charging . This is because EVs are more efficient than gas cars, as they can convert about 90% of their energy into power at the wheels, while gas engines are only 35-40% efficient. Moreover, EVs can benefit from the increasing share of renewable energy in the electricity grid, which reduces their emissions over time. Gas cars, on the other hand, have a fixed emission factor that depends on the fuel quality and engine efficiency.

However, EVs also have some environmental drawbacks, such as the use of rare earth metals and other minerals for their batteries and motors. These minerals are often mined in countries with poor environmental and labor standards, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than half of the world's cobalt is produced. Mining these minerals can cause land degradation, water pollution, habitat loss, and human rights violations. Furthermore, EV batteries have a limited lifespan and need to be recycled or disposed of properly to avoid environmental hazards.

Therefore, while EVs are generally better for the environment than gas cars, they are not a perfect solution. The best way to reduce the environmental impact of transportation is to reduce the demand for personal vehicles altogether. This can be achieved by promoting public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling, telecommuting, and other alternatives that reduce vehicle miles traveled and emissions. Additionally, improving fuel efficiency standards **and adopting low-carbon fuels** can help mitigate the environmental impact of gas cars.

**Low-carbon fuels** are transportation fuels that release less carbon dioxide into the air when burned than traditional fuels like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Some examples of low-carbon fuels are:

- Electricity: Electricity can power electric vehicles and hybrids. Electricity can be generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectricity or nuclear power.

- Hydrogen: Hydrogen can be used as a fuel on its own or combined with other molecules to form fuels such as ammonia or methanol. Hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable electricity or from natural gas with carbon capture and storage.

- Biofuels: Biofuels are fuels derived from organic matter such as plants or animal waste. Biofuels include ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas. Biofuels can be blended with fossil fuels or used as drop-in replacements.

- Power-to-X: Power-to-X fuels are synthetic fuels produced from renewable electricity and captured carbon dioxide or nitrogen. Power-to-X fuels include e-fuels such as e-gasoline or e-diesel.

Low-carbon fuels can offer several benefits for reducing transportation emissions. They can be compatible with existing vehicles and infrastructure or require minimal modifications. They can also provide high energy density and range for applications where electrification is not feasible or cost-effective. However, low-carbon fuels also face some challenges such as high production costs, limited availability and scalability, uncertain regulations and incentives, and potential trade-offs with other environmental impacts such as land use or water consumption.

In conclusion, low-carbon fuels are an important option for decarbonizing transportation sectors that are hard to electrify. However, they need to be complemented by other measures such as reducing vehicle demand and improving vehicle efficiency to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


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Sources:

: The International Council On Clean Transportation (2021). "The role of low-carbon fuels in deep decarbonization: An integrated assessment." https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/low-carbon-fuels-deep-decarbonization-20210908.pdf


: The Boston Consulting Group (2022). "The Road Ahead for Low-Carbon Fuels." https://www.bcg.com/publications/2022/the-road-ahead-for-low-carbon-fuels


: Washington State Department of Ecology. "Reducing car pollution." https://ecology.wa.gov/Issues-and-local-projects/Education-training/What-you-can-do/Reducing-car-pollution


: Union of Concerned Scientists (2008). "Cars, Trucks, Buses and Air Pollution." https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cars-trucks-buses-and-air-pollution


: U.S. Energy Information Administration (2022). "Gasoline explained Gasoline and the environment." https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/gasoline-and-the-environment.php


: U.S. Department of Energy. "Electricity Basics." https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/electricity-basics


: U.S. Department of Energy. "Hydrogen Basics." https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-basics


: U.S. Department of Energy. "Biofuels Basics." https://www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/biofuels-basics


: U.S. Department of Energy. "Power-to-X Basics." https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/power-x-basics

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Cardinal Fernandez to Liberals in Press Release: Sorry No Changes, You Jumped to Conclusions

After the release of the Declaration called Fiducia supplicans by the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith the media went into a frenzy. They issued headliners claiming the Church changed its position, is blessing gay couples, blessing gay unions, blessing same-sex couples, etc, etc.

 The liners made it seem like the Catholic Church bent to the world's will and changed unchangeable teachings on sexual morality and marriage. Even some Catholics on social media who conflate liberalism and progressivism with Catholic teaching were elated. 

They attacked other Catholics, including Sacerdotus accusing us of being heretics or grouping all of us as "radical traditionalists" or "right-wing."  Despite the existence of Church documents, the Bible and Catechism, they honestly believed that Church teaching could change. Some even said the teachings were wrong and not fallible.  Others even claimed that sodomy is not a mortal sin. The list goes on and on.  Needless to say, they felt a sense of victory. They felt Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernandez were the liberal leaders that they were looking for to bring about change in the Catholic Church.  Boy were they wrong.  Today, Cardinal Fernandez and the Dicastery of the Doctrine of Faith issued a press release addressing the concerns of Catholics, including bishops.  

In the press release, Cardinal Fernandez made it clear that these blessings cannot take place in sacred building, or in the sanctuary or in front of the altar. They are not liturgical, ritual blessings, just pastoral ones. The press release states:

"It remains clear, therefore, that the blessing must not take place in a prominent place within a sacred building, or in front of an altar, as this also would create confusion."

As stated before, the frenzy and misinterpretation of Fiducia Supplicans spread rapidly. Father James Martin, SJ, and other priests immediately began blessing same-sex couples. One priest in the Diocese of Lexington did so in front of the altar on the sanctuary despite Fiducia Supplicans prohibiting this.  Here are some articles showing the blessings: 



This press release aids those who apparently lack reading comprehension skills and did not understand Fiduccia Supplicans, particularly those who call themselves liberal Catholics.  

The cardinal clarified that this is not liturgical, only a pastoral thing, and that it is not an endorsement of same-sex unions or a change in doctrine.  

Facts matter. The Catholic Church CANNOT change teaching. We can only meet people where they are at in life but if they do not want to move from there into Christ, then we cannot do anything more.

The idea of the development of doctrine or teaching is thrown around as an attempt to claim that the Catholic Church's teachings can change. This is a poor understanding of the term. Development of doctrine or teaching means that the teachings that are already there are explained to newer generations in a way that they can understand. It does not mean that it changes.  The teachings grow out, branch out, if you will to each time period. This is what it means when we say the development of teaching or doctrine.  We explain what is already there in a better manner as times change.  

Here is the complete text of the press release:

 

Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith 

Press release concerning the reception of Fiducia supplicans


4 January 2024

We are writing this Press Release to help clarify the reception of Fiducia supplicans, while recommending at the same time a full and calm reading of the Declaration so as to better understand its meaning and purpose.


1. Doctrine

The understandable statements of some Episcopal Conferences regarding the document Fiducia supplicans have the value of highlighting the need for a more extended period of pastoral reflection. What is expressed by these Episcopal Conferences cannot be interpreted as doctrinal opposition, because the document is clear and definitive about marriage and sexuality. There are several indisputable phrases in the Declaration that leave this in no doubt:

«This Declaration remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion». One acts in these situations of couples in irregular situations «without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage» (Presentation).

«Therefore, rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage – which is the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children” – and what contradicts it are inadmissible. This conviction is grounded in the perennial Catholic doctrine of marriage; it is only in this context that sexual relations find their natural, proper, and fully human meaning. The Church’s doctrine on this point remains firm» (4).

«Such is also the meaning of the Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which states that the Church does not have the power to impart blessings on unions of persons of the same sex» (5).

«For this reason, since the Church has always considered only those sexual relations that are lived out within marriage to be morally licit, the Church does not have the power to confer its liturgical blessing when that would somehow offer a form of moral legitimacy to a union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice» (11).

Evidently, there is no room to distance ourselves doctrinally from this Declaration or to consider it heretical, contrary to the Tradition of the Church or blasphemous.


2. Practical reception

Some Bishops, however, express themselves in particular regarding a practical aspect: the possible blessings of couples in irregular situations. The Declaration contains a proposal for short and simple pastoral blessings (neither liturgical nor ritualised) of couples in irregular situations (but not of their unions), underlining that these are blessings without a liturgical format which neither approve nor justify the situation in which these people find themselves.

Documents of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith such as Fiducia supplicans, in their practical aspects, may require more or less time for their application depending on local contexts and the discernment of each diocesan Bishop with his Diocese. In some places no difficulties arise for their immediate application, while in others it will be necessary not to introduce them, while taking the time necessary for reading and interpretation.

Some Bishops, for example, have established that each priest must carry out the work of discernment and that he may, however, perform these blessings only in private. None of this is problematic if it is expressed with due respect for a text signed and approved by the Supreme Pontiff himself, while attempting in some way to accommodate the reflection contained in it.

Each local Bishop, by virtue of his own ministry, always has the power of discernment in loco, that is, in that concrete place that he knows better than others precisely because it is his own flock. Prudence and attention to the ecclesial context and to the local culture could allow for different methods of application, but not a total or definitive denial of this path that is proposed to priests.


3. The delicate situation of some countries

The cases of some Episcopal Conferences must be understood in their contexts. In several countries there are strong cultural and even legal issues that require time and pastoral strategies that go beyond the short term.

If there are laws that condemn the mere act of declaring oneself as a homosexual with prison and in some cases with torture and even death, it goes without saying that a blessing would be imprudent.  It is clear that the Bishops do not wish to expose homosexual persons to violence.  It remains vital that these Episcopal Conferences do not support a doctrine different from that of the Declaration signed by the Pope, given that it is perennial doctrine, but rather that they recommend the need for study and discernment so as to act with pastoral prudence in such a context.

In truth, there are not a few countries that, to varying degrees, condemn, prohibit and criminalize homosexuality.  In these cases, apart from the question of blessings, there exists a great and wide-ranging pastoral responsibility that includes training, the defense of human dignity, the teaching of the Social Doctrine of the Church and various strategies that do not admit of a rushed response.

 

4. The real novelty of the document

The real novelty of this Declaration, the one that requires a generous effort of reception and from which no one should declare themselves excluded, is not the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations. It is the invitation to distinguish between two different forms of blessings: “liturgical or ritualized” and “spontaneous or pastoral”. The Presentation clearly explains that «the value of this document […] is that it offers a specific and innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings, permitting a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings, which is closely linked to a liturgical perspective».  This «theological reflection, based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis, implies a real development from what has been said about blessings in the Magisterium and the official texts of the Church».

In the background is found the positive evaluation of “popular pastoral care” which appears in many of the Holy Father’s texts. In this context, the Holy Father invites us to value the simple faith of the People of God who, even in the midst of their sins, emerge from their everyday lives and open their hearts to ask for God’s help.

For this reason, rather than the blessing of couples in irregular unions, the text of the Dicastery has adopted the other profile of a “Declaration”, which is much more than a responsum or a letter. The central theme, which invites us especially to a deeper pastoral practice which enriches our pastoral praxis, is to have a broader understanding of blessings and of the proposal that these pastoral blessings, which do not require the same conditions as blessings in a liturgical or ritual context, flourish.  Consequently, leaving polemics aside, the text requires an effort to reflect serenely, with the heart of shepherds, free from all ideology.

Although some Bishops consider it prudent not to impart these blessings for the moment, we all need to grow equally in the conviction that: non-ritualized blessings are not a consecration of the person nor of the couple who receives them, they are not a justification of all their actions, and they are not an endorsement of the life that they lead. When the Pope asked us to grow in a broader understanding of pastoral blessings, he proposed that we think of a way of blessing that does not require the placing of so many conditions to carry out this simple gesture of pastoral closeness, which is a means of promoting openness to God in the midst of the most diverse circumstances.


5. How do these “pastoral blessings” present themselves in concrete terms?

To be clearly distinguished from liturgical or ritualized blessings, “pastoral blessings” must above all be very short (see n. 38). These are blessings lasting a few seconds, without an approved ritual and without a book of blessings. If two people approach together to seek the blessing, one simply asks the Lord for peace, health and other good things for these two people who request it. At the same time, one asks that they may live the Gospel of Christ in full fidelity and so that the Holy Spirit can free these two people from everything that does not correspond to his divine will and from everything that requires purification.

This non-ritualized form of blessing, with the simplicity and brevity of its form, does not intend to justify anything that is not morally acceptable.  Obviously it is not a marriage, but equally it is not an “approval” or ratification of anything either. It is solely the response of a pastor towards two persons who ask for God’s help. Therefore, in this case, the pastor does not impose conditions and does not enquire about the intimate lives of these people.

Since some have raised the question of what these blessings might look like, let us look at a concrete example: let us imagine that among a large number making a pilgrimage a couple of divorced people, now in a new union, say to the priest: “Please give us a blessing, we cannot find work, he is very ill, we do not have a home and life is becoming very difficult: may God help us!”.

In this case, the priest can recite a simple prayer like this: “Lord, look at these children of yours, grant them health, work, peace and mutual help.  Free them from everything that contradicts your Gospel and allow them to live according to your will. Amen”. Then it concludes with the sign of the cross on each of the two persons.

We are talking about something that lasts about 10 or 15 seconds. Does it make sense to deny these kinds of blessings to these two people who ask for them? Is it not more appropriate to support their faith, whether it be small or great, to assist them in their weaknesses with a divine blessing, and to channel that openness to transcendence which could lead them to be more faithful to the Gospel?

In order to avoid any doubt, the Declaration adds that, when the blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, «even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding. The same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple» (n. 39). It remains clear, therefore, that the blessing must not take place in a prominent place within a sacred building, or in front of an altar, as this also would create confusion.

For this reason, every Bishop in his Diocese is authorized by the Declaration Fiducia supplicans to make this type of simple blessing available, bearing in mind the need for prudence and care, but in no way is he authorized to propose or make blessings available that may resemble a liturgical rite.


6. Catechesis

In some places, perhaps, some catechesis will be necessary that can help everyone to understand that these types of blessings are not an endorsement of the life led by those who request them. Even less are they an absolution, as these gestures are far from being a sacrament or a rite. They are simple expressions of pastoral closeness that do not impose the same requirements as a sacrament or a formal rite. We will all have to become accustomed to accepting the fact that, if a priest gives this type of simple blessings, he is not a heretic, he is not ratifying anything nor is he denying Catholic doctrine.

We can help God’s People to discover that these kinds of blessings are just simple pastoral channels that help people give expression to their faith, even if they are great sinners. For this reason, in giving a blessing to two people who come together to ask for it spontaneously, we are not consecrating them nor are we congratulating them nor indeed are we approving that type of union.  In reality the same happens when individuals are blessed, as the individual who asks for a blessing – not absolution – could be a great sinner, but this does not mean we deny him this paternal gesture in the midst of his struggle to survive.

If this is clarified as a result of good catechesis, we can free ourselves from the fear that these blessings of ours may express something inadequate. We can be freer and perhaps closer and more fruitful ministers, with a ministry that is full of gestures of fatherhood and hospitality, without fear of being misunderstood.

We ask the newly-born Lord to shower a generous and gracious blessing upon everyone so that we can live a holy and happy 2024.


Vรญctor Manuel Card. Fernรกndez

Prefect

Mons. Armando Matteo

Secretary for the Doctrinal Section


Source: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2024-01/dicastery-for-the-doctrine-of-the-faith-on-fiducia-supplicans.html 


Hopefully, the media, the LGBTQIA community and those who call themselves liberal Catholics will not understand the facts.  The Church cannot bless sin. Marriage is between one man and one woman and Church teaching can never change.


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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

New Year 2024 = Improve Your Health

 It is a new year, and we all fall into the social custom of making "resolutions." These resolutions are goals we want to accomplish in the new year. The most common resolution is losing weight.

The over-indulgence during the holidays of food and drink can add on the pounds. It is estimated that Americans gain over 10 lbs. from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. That amount may not seem much, but it is and is unhealthy.

That fat collects around the body, usually in the abdomen. Each of our bodies is different so each of us will store fat in different areas based on our genetic makeup and gender.

Depending on our eating habits and the food we ingest, some of us might store fat around the abdomen, legs, upper arms, or rear end. Fat is necessary for human physiology. Fat is stored energy, or a reserve in case the body does not have nutrients available. When we eat more calories than we need, those extra calories are converted into triglycerides. The average adult human body needs about 2,000 calories a day. A child needs about 900-1000 calories. Anything beyond that will turn into fat and will be stored until the body burns it off.

Fat is a "good" per se; however, anything in excess can do harm. It is not good to be overweight or obese. Excess fat, especially around the abdomen can damage vital organs. One organ that gets damaged easily is the liver. 

The liver is like a sponge and when too much fat enters it, the liver will expand and turn yellowish. This condition is called "Fatty liver." Imagine taking a sponge, dipping it in oil and letting it dry. The oil will solidify turning into a buttery substance. This is what a fatty liver basically looks like.

The liver is extremely important. It regulates chemicals, nutrients and produces bile which helps break down fat. The liver also filters the blood of any impurities. This is why they call it the "live-er." A fatty liver decreases the function of the liver. It will make you feel weak, disrupt your concentration ability, and other problems will arise in your body. A fatty liver is detected via simple blood tests. Elevated enzymes found in the blood will indicate that the liver may have too much fat or is damaged. Further tests may be needed in order to rule out any other disease such as cirrhosis. Fortunately, fatty liver is reversible. Diet and exercise will eventually restore the liver to its normal function.


Diet
Diet is probably the second "D" word people fear after the "D" word death. We all love food. Those yummy chips, cookies, cakes, twinkies; oh, that fried chicken, McDonald's hamburger or Burger King meal hits the spot. Let me not forget the cannoli, pizzas, rice and beans, and pork chops. Let me stop the temptations :-)
These foods all taste good, but too much of them is not good. We all can live without them.

The foods we should eat instead are vegetables, fruits, fish, some red meats, grains and dairy. There are no vegetables or fruit on Earth that are bad for you unless they are rotten. These are "sacred" natural items that we should always eat. I call them sacred because they keep us alive and healthy. Fish is an excellent alternative to red meat. It has nutrients that help brain development and is generally low in fat.

Lean meats are also good for the body but should be eaten in moderation. This means no huge drumsticks or ribs like Fred Flintstone likes. Grains such has whole wheat bread should be eaten instead of white bread. Low-fat dairy products must replace those high in fat.

Avoid foods with high fructose syrup, trans-fats and any ingredient that you can't pronounce or sounds like it is a chemical in a laboratory. These are man-made additions to food products which harm the body. Our bodies were designed to process natural nutrients.  Our bodies don't know what to do with ingredients found in man-made processed foods, so these get converted into a fat that is hard to burn off and causes damage to organs, especially the heart and brain. 

Drink water instead of juices and sodas.  Pure water from a spring source is best.  Our bodies are mostly 50-75% water.  Water keeps our bodies functioning properly, helps flush out the body of impurities and keeps skin healthy.  The human body can survive a month or more without food, but will not last long if it has not had water for more than a week.  Water is extremely important. One can lose up to 10 lbs in a month just by drinking water instead of sodas or juices.  Juices are okay, but naturally squeezed from a fruit is best instead of processed versions.     

If you are overweight or obese and want to get into shape, a diet is a must. This does not mean that you have to starve yourself. As a matter of fact, some believe that by skipping meals or starving oneself, they will lose weight faster.  The contrary happens.  When we skip a meal or starve ourselves, our bodies go into "survival mode."  During this "mode," the metabolism slows down which in turn slows down the fat burning rate.  We begin to store fat as reserved energy.  This is due to evolution.  Our bodies evolved to handle what nature throws at us.  Our ancestors had to face all kinds of hardships, including not finding food.  To compensate, the body learned to slow its metabolism down in order to store fat in case there were no nutrients around.  This is why it is important not to skip meals.  Have three meals, or smaller meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism going.  Instead of having a 2,000 calorie intake, lower it to 1,200. By doing this, you are skipping 800 calories which will force the body to burn the fat you already have to make up for those missing calories. The burning of fat equals weight loss. When you add exercise to this, the results will come even faster. You will burn the fat you have plus prevent any fat from even storing. The human body is amazing, right?

Avoid Alcohol
This may sound crazy especially to those who love to party hard on new years.  However, it is sound advice. There is nothing beneficial about drinking alcohol.  Alcohol increases depressions, creates addiction and can cause death via accidents or poisoning.  It impairs judgment, destroys families and friendships.  Drinking too much alcohol will also cause damage to the liver leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer.  It will lead the heart disease, hypertension, throat/esophagus cancer or damage, stroke; breast, stomach, colon cancer, and mental illness.  If you or anyone you know suffers from alcoholism, treatment is necessary.  Get help quickly before it is too late.  There is no rational reason to drink. Water is the best liquid we can drink.    


Exercise
Exercise is another thing most of us hate. Who likes to go to the gym? When we were kids we probably preferred gym over math, but as adults...eh... not so much. Exercise is extremely important. Our bodies are designed to work against gravity. We can use this in order to maintain healthy bodies. Exercise can be done anywhere. One does not need to buy a gym membership. A simple chair, a wall, sofa, even the floor can be used to do simple workouts that will bring about results. One can even use a book, phone, water bottle as a weight. Exercise helps keep the blood flowing. It helps the heart and helps with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. There are many exercises that can be done.

Cardio
In order to burn fat, one must do cardio - or exercises that get the heart rate going. For those who are young, the heart rate for maximum burning is about 135. The rate decreases as you age, so it is important that you keep your heart rate at the right level depending on your age in order to avoid over-stressing the heart. In other words, a person who is 50-80 years old should not have a 135 heart rate while exercising. A heart rate of 90-115 suffices. Cardio can be done with walking, jogging, running, swimming, dancing; basically any activity that gets your heart pounding. One can walk around, take the stairs instead of the elevator, jog or use a treadmill. 
If a treadmill is too much in regards to impacts on joints, then an elliptical is best. Elliptical's are excellent workout machines. They are probably the best. They workout the whole body and also keep your heart rate up. 

Exercise programs such as Zumba or even video games such as Just Dance, Your Shape, etc offer good cardio routines.  The latter can be used if you can't afford a gym membership which can be costly.  Some parks have simple exercise equipment you can use as well.  At home, you can jog in place to get your heart moving or even doing chores with a little more effort can help.  Cleaning can burn over 100 calories an hour.

Lifting
Weigh training is important as well. The more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. Muscles need energy to repair themselves and grow. When we lift weights, this causes tiny tears in muscle tissue and this produces pain or soreness after lifting something heavy. Our muscles then absorb fat in order to repair those tears. When muscles are repaired, they will become bigger and more toned. Lifting weights also helps with skin elasticity which helps remove that flabby extra skin.  Weigh training might not be attractive for all, especially women who do not want to look manly, but it is important. Light weights can prevent women from looking like the Incredible Hulk. Nevertheless, it is important that weight training be part of exercise especially if you want to look toned, lose weight, and keep it off.  Be sure to allow yourself a day or two to recover to avoid damaging muscle tissue.  Do not use heavy weights too quickly.  Start out with light ones and work yourself up to what you can handle.  Use belts or other devices to avoid getting a hernia.

Faith, Prayeractivate and Meditation 
Prayer and Meditation are important not only for spiritual health, but mental and physical as well.
Studies show that they increase happiness and overall health.  Taking a few minutes, a day to pray and meditate helps relax the mind, body, and soul.  Prayer and meditation activate the frontal lobe and the amygdala.  

In the amygdala, it calms the area that controls fear and anxiety which in turn gives us serenity and peace.  The frontal lobe is the area of the brain that controls the higher functions of man, e.g. reason, awareness, intellect, memory, etc. It is the "human" part of the brain that distinguishes us from other non-human animals.  This part is more active in those who have faith, pray, and meditate as opposed to atheists whose frontal lobes are not as active.  The amygdala controls emotions, the processing of emotions along with memory, our response to fear, and social interaction.  Prayer, meditation, and faith "exercise" the frontal lobe and overall brain increasing mental health and intelligence.  Moreover, prayer has been shown in studies to contribute to good heart health.               

Remember, to always seek a doctor before starting any diet or exercise.  Our bodies are unique and need specific attention.  What works for some may not work for all.  A doctor or nutritionist can help tailor a program that works for you, especially if you have another condition such as diabetes or high cholesterol.  

So it is possible to lose weight and be healthy.  Don't give up! If you start now, by spring you will be a new person, physically speaking!  You will be living better!  Life is short.  Thankfully we have some say as to how short it will be if we live healthily.    

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