Keep your eyes open!...


June 30, 2015  

(Mat 10:32-34) Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.


Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, of Fatima, which concerns “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan”. The battlefield is the family. Life and the family. We know that you were given charge by John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family. 

Cardinal Carlo Caffara : Yes, I was. At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.

And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.

EXCERPT CRISIS MAGAZINE: The “Benedict Option” and the Barbarian Challenge

There can be no doubt that we live in a neo-barbarian world inside a culture of death. Today’s tattooed and wired neo-barbarians are likewise aggressive.  They also redistribute the wealth, albeit through taxes and entitlements. They do not live and let live, but insist that all approve their disordered lifestyles. Indeed, it is the very brutality of the neo-barbarian mandate that impels those considering the Benedictine option to flee.

The lessons of history are particularly expressive regarding the triumph of barbarians. Vikings, Huns, Goths, Moors and communists all devastated the tranquility of even the most isolated of organic societies. There is no escaping. There is a kind of impossible co-existence between barbarian and villager. Thus, in our case, the B-challenge can only consist in confronting the brutal neo-barbarians at the gates.

That is not to say that Benedict loses his validity as an option. After all, the core of what is to be defended and gives meaning to life is found inside his liturgical framework turned toward the worship of God.

But Benedict must be defended against the ravages of the barbarian. The barbarian must be fearlessly confronted, contested, fought against, defeated … and converted.

To the efficacious prayer of Benedict must be added the zealous action of a Boniface, apostle of Germany. He did not dialogue with the barbarians, but chopped down the great oak tree that they worshiped as their god, and brought them to the knowledge of the true Faith. To Boniface can be added legions of saints like Patrick in Ireland or Remigius in France, all of who overcame the barbarian and secured Benedict’s peace.

It would be wrong to assume that Boniface plays only a temporary role inside a B-option. Successive waves of barbarians followed after Boniface’s triumph. Saintly kings, knights and crusaders rose to the occasion to engage and defeat them. Even our modern times saw the need to defend the West from yesterday’s Nazi and communist brutes and today’s Islamic beheading savages.

In this vale of tears, we must be continually engaged in the fight for order since there will always be those who oppose God’s law and undermine the family, marriage, and all those other institutions that make up the heart and soul of an economy, a culture and the Christian village. There will always be those who never live and let live and will seek us out.


Marriage has had its day at Court, but religious freedom could soon follow
Gay marriage decision raises questions for religious groups
Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country

REVIEW: Bishops across the country weigh in on SCOTUS ruling

Reader:  Personally speaking I am happy about the prospect of having the tax deduction taken away. Any problem you can solve by paying money - you got off cheap - especially when it comes to giving an account to God.

Keeping this tax deduction has cost us too much already - in terms of compromising our speech and hence our core values.

I think the youth especially would be attracted to the church if we made a clear stand and said - like Jesus - render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's (money) - and render unto God what is God's (the truth).

The Church too long has tried to replace a backbone - with a wishbone.

We need to get a backbone !

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

15. Evagrius said, 'To go against self is the beginning of salvation.

June 19, 2015  


The Canticle of Brother Sun
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

POPE FRANCIS: “My appeal is, therefore, to responsibility, based on the task that God has given to man in creation: ‘to till and tend’ the ‘garden’ in which humanity has been placed (cf. Gen 2:15). I invite everyone to accept with open hearts this document, which places itself in the line of the Church's social doctrine.”

: Overview of the Encyclical Laudato si'

CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT ANALYSIS: "Laudato Si" focuses on the heart of man and the disorders of our age

The central thesis is that the fallen nature of the human heart and the resulting brokenness of human relations is the cause of the crises in our lives, families, nations, and now the life-sustaining ecosystems that form our common home


LIFESITE: Pope Francis’ leaked encyclical: the good and the bad
NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Laudato Si: The Cheers and the Challenges
ACTION INSTITUTE: Unholy Alliance: Who is Advising Pope Francis on Global Warming?

ACTION INSTITUTE: Pope Francis and the environment

: Mixing Up the Sciences of Heaven and Earth by Fr. George W. Rutler

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation. However, there is a double danger in using it as an economic text or scientific thesis. One of the pope’s close advisors, the hortatory Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras said with ill-tempered diction: “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.” From the empirical side, to prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one hypothesis over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change. It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can perfectly predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the ConEd utility bills.

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined. It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.” That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners. One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.” While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius. Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe. At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Leaked Laudato Lamented

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

6. They said of Arsenius that while he was in the Emperor's palace he was the best-dressed person there and while he was leading the life of a monk, no one was clothed in worse rags.

June 17, 2015  

(Mat 6:33-34) Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

VATICAN NEWS: To be free of worldly passion, Pope Francis said, we must have a humble heart which rejects all conflicts and battles. This is the noise of the pagan world and the noise of the devil, he said, but our hearts must be at peace if we want to bear witness to our faith without scandal or criticism. Returning to the words of St Paul, the Pope stressed we must keep our hearts ready for God through all “endurance, afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts”.  

BLOG:  Worried About the Future?

: Living in a Moral Diaspora

In an autobiographical novel entitled, My First Loves, Ivan Klima, a Czech writer, talks about a pain he endured as a young man. Growing up without religious training and living amidst a group of young men and women who weren’t much inclined towards sexual and other restraints, he sometimes found himself very much alone and isolated in terms of his feelings. For reasons he couldn’t explain, and which certainly weren’t religious, he, unlike his friends, simply couldn’t give himself over to certain forms of youthful revelry. His conscience was reticent and he was haunted by a feeling that solitude should be carried at some high level.

And all this came on him as a loneliness, as a painful feeling that he was somehow out-of-step with others, a misfit, unanimity-minus-one, a cog out of sync with a contented world, a frigidity within lake of freedom. His refusal to give in to various things, when his friends were less willing to carry tension, left him aching in a curious way, lonely for moral companionship, for someone to sleep with in terms of his reticence. He sensed that there were others like himself out there, kindred spirits, soulmates, whom he needed to find in order to alleviate his pain. He states the pain as simple fact, but underneath there’s a search for moral companionship. (What is any book besides a note in bottle tossed out to sea in hopes of finding someone who thinks like you?)

The pain that Klima articulates is a pain that is more-and-more felt today by anyone who has strong faith and deep moral convictions. Increasingly, to believe in God, is to find yourself within a moral diaspora, seemingly a minority-of-one, awash in a world that, while wonderful in so many other ways, is non-supportive in terms of what’s deepest and most important to you. To carry real faith and moral conviction today is to feel yourself part of a cognitive minority, a deviant of sorts, isolated, morally lonely.

What is moral loneliness? It’s the pain of feeling alone in one’s deepest beliefs. There are various types of loneliness, but this inconsummation is perhaps the most searing. Painful as it is to not have a sexual partner, it is even more painful not to have a moral one. More deeply than we ache to sleep with others sexually, we ache to sleep with them morally. What exactly does this mean?

Inside each of us there is a moral centre, a place where all that is most precious in us is rooted. It’s this centre we call our truest self. It’s here we guard what’s sacred to us and it’s here we feel most violated when someone either enters irreverently or doesn’t properly honour what we hold there. It’s here that we feel most vulnerable. It’s this centre too that keeps us from falling apart. If this spot is violated in a significant way, through major betrayal, sexual abuse, or other such soul-searing experience, the soul begins to unravel and we have the sensation of falling apart. Our moral centre is the glue that holds the soul together.

And what nurtures this centre is moral companionship, the sense of having found a soulmate. Sometimes we misunderstand this simply as sexual, as a longing that can be assuaged through sexual union, but it’s more. Sex only does its healing if its embrace caresses our moral centre and honours it. Deep down, we know that. For example, when Thomas Moore released the book, SOULMATES, a few years back, it’s title held such a powerful attraction precisely because it intimates that real intimacy has a moral centre that goes deeper than even emotion and sex and is more properly spoken of in terms of soul and destiny.

All of this has an important faith and ecclesial dimension. Today, at least in the Western world, we live in a moral diaspora. More and more people are finding that their faith and moral convictions are not shared by their families, their friends, their colleagues, the arts, the mainstream media, the popular ethos of the culture, and sometimes even their own spouses. In what’s most precious to them, many people today are very much alone, lonely, forced to look outside their own families and circles for the companionship and support for which they ache. Moral diaspora makes for more loneliness.

What’s to be done? Among other things, people of faith need more to seek each other; mystically, within the body of Christ, and practically, within supportive ecclesial communities. Small, intentional, faith communities, operating outside the regular ecclesial structures, can too be part of the answer.

Moreover scripture points to still another answer: When Jesus, Paul, Stephen, and others felt lonely and isolated in their faith, when they had a reticence that others couldn’t understand, they “looked upward, towards heaven”. It brought peace, even when they faced persecution, stoning, or death because of their beliefs. They looked to God and trusted. I think that’s called prayer.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

5. Some demons once came near Arsenius in his cell, and they were troubling him.  The same brothers who usually ministered to him arrived.  As they stood outside the cell, they heard him crying aloud to the Lord, 'Lord do not leave me, though I have done nothing good in your sight.  Grant me, Lord, by your loving kindness, to make at least the first beginnings of good.

June 15, 2015  

(Mat 24:6-8) And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass: but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And there shall be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in places. Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.

LEBANON'S MARONITE CATHOLIC PATRIARCH CARDINAL BECHARA RAI: “We condemn injustice, the death of the world’s conscience and all those who provide arms and money for sabotage, destruction, killing and displacement.”

: Syrian Christians are caught in 'demonic conflict'

ASIANEWS.IT: Patriarchs met in Damascus to give courage and hope to a restless people

VIA STRATFOR: Tartus, the Mother of Martyrs

Editor's Note: This first-hand account was written by a Stratfor correspondent in the Middle East.

Tartus is Syria's second largest port city, overshadowed only by Latakia. Located on the country's coastal plain, both sit within the Alawite minority's geographic core. Originally known as the "Nusayris," the Alawites became established along the Mediterranean coast under the Shiite Hamdanid dynasty. With the fall of this dynasty, however, they became an embattled minority, persecuted by Christian crusaders, the Sunni Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire in turn.

The French colonial regime favored the Alawites in order to balance power against the majority Sunnis and their Ottoman backers. Following independence, this privileged position made the Alawites a target of reprisals from the new government. By the 1960s, however, the Alawites had regained influence because of their presence in the military and their support for the Baathist movement. In 1971, after a tumultuous period of coups and counter-coups, Defense Minister Hafez al Assad gained control of the government. The Alawite general remained in power until 2000 and was succeeded by his son, Bashar al Assad.

Today, the city of Tartus is gloomy. Syria is four years into a vicious civil war. Bashar al Assad's government has managed to survive but is locked in an existential battle with a host of rebel forces, including the Islamic State. Again and again the government has been forced to retrench to protect its core around the Alawite coast and the capital of Damascus. The heady period of unchallenged Alawite ascendance has come to a murky end.

In the early days of the 2011 uprising against al Assad's rule, the Alawites of Tartus came out into the streets to defend him, chanting "Al Assad! Or we set the country on fire!" If al Assad did not remain president, his Alawite supporters promised to rise up to destroy the country themselves. Now a host of rebel groups threaten the al Assad regime. Although the government holds on, the Alawites' threat to destroy the country now rings hollow.

After four years of disastrous conflict, the Alawites of Tartus are frustrated and suffering from staggering human losses. More than 70,000 young Alawite soldiers have been killed and 120,000 others wounded. Another 10,000 are unaccounted for. These figures do not even include Tartus' non-Alawite loyalist troops. Tartus is now known as the "mother of martyrs." One-third of all loyalist casualties come from the city, where posters of fallen soldiers are everywhere.

Within the city, there is a growing perception that President Bashar al Assad is intent on staying in power no matter how many Alawite deaths it takes. The Alawaites, who in 2011 trumpeted their support for al Assad, now threaten him with a different chant altogether: "God willing, we will witness the funeral of your sons," they say.

The Alawites also feel abandoned by other minority groups who do not seem willing to send their young men to fight and die. This is important — throughout Syria's history, minority groups have contended with the majority Sunni population, which makes up around three-fourths of the population. Again and again in battles against the rebels, the Druze, Christians, Ismailis and Shiites of Syria's National Defense Militias have fled. The Alawite regulars feel like they are fighting and dying alone.

In Tartus, funerals for the succession of fallen soldiers have turned into processions of rage. Tartus receives at least 20 dead bodies each day. During times of more intense fighting, this number often rises to over 80. The regime, fearing that each of these deaths could cause massive uproar, does not allow hospitals to release more than five of the corpses to families each day. The process is painfully slow: Only after one family has received the remains of their relative and left the hospital can the next family enter. Families often wait 10 days to retrieve a body.

In the midst of such bloodshed, many Alawites have come to the conclusion that the regime cannot win the war. One person told me, "Our regime has failed. Its erratic policies made it possible for the Islamic State to emerge." The turning point for them was the regime's September 2014 defeat at Tabqa air base, where Islamic State militants slaughtered hundreds of Alawite soldiers. The regime failed to rescue them. Families no longer want their young men to take part in what they see as a suicidal war. Young men flee to the mountains or to Lebanon to avoid conscription. If they can, they flee by sea to the Turkish city of Mersin, then try to enter the European Union illegally. The regime is trying to replace its lost soldiers by forcibly recruiting young men who are supposed to have exemption or deferment from military service.

Although the people of Tartus continue to suffer and their sons continue to die, it is only at the end of the war, whatever its outcome, that the city's Alawites will really comprehend the full extent of the catastrophe. For now, the situation is precarious. The Syrian opposition has thus far failed to address the status that the Alawite community would hold in a post-al Assad Syria. Even if this were clearly worked out, the Alawites cannot simply join the rebel Free Syrian Army — the Sunnis do not trust them. And if Alawites quit fighting for al Assad, the administration would surely crack down on them. A threat from within his core territory is not something al Assad can afford at the moment.

For the people of Tartus today, few options remain besides simply carrying on as before. But every day, more bodies come in; every day they must deal with the reality of their fragile position.

Tartus, the Mother of Martyrs is republished with permission of Stratfor.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

3. Antony also said, 'I saw the devil's snares set all over the earth, and I groaned and said, "What can pass through them?"  I heard a voice saying "Humility."

June 12, 2015  

(Joh 19:34-35) But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: What ‘renewing the Church’ really requires

: Pope Francis speaks to the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A Mission to Encourage Personal Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

: The Sacred Heart should be our rallying cry against secular society

The recent slew of feasts – Pentecost, Ascension, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, Ss Peter and Paul – has been a pleasant reminder to me of the continuing fecundity of the Catholic tradition. And it comes to a climax – at least this will be the last solemnity of the Lord until we reach the end of the liturgical year with Christ the King – with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart today, the second Friday after Pentecost.

The Sacred Heart to me represents one of the most important feasts of the year from a theological perspective. It is the feast of the flesh that was taken up by the Son of God. It is thus the feast of love made incarnate for us in the person of Our Lord. It is our way of celebrating what made the people of the Holy Land so happy during the earthly ministry of Jesus, namely, the presence of our loving Saviour among us.

As for the iconography of the Sacred Heart, it is important to realise that all crucifixes, in that they show the wounded side of Our Lord, are images of His Sacred Heart laid bare out of love.

The liturgy of the solemnity is particularly theologically profound. Consider the Preface:

"Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give You thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lifted high on the cross,
Christ gave His life for us,
so much did He love us.
From His wounded side flowed blood and water,
the fountain of sacramental life in the Church.
To His open heart the Saviour invites all men
to draw water in joy from the springs of salvation.
Now, with all the saints and angels,
we praise you for ever: Holy, holy, holy Lord…"

This has the merit of brevity and profundity. The Preface taken from the Missal of 1962 is rather more florid, but perhaps even more arresting. Here is an English translation of it, from a hand missal:

"It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto
salvation, that we should in all times and in all
places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father
almighty, and everlasting God; who didst will that
Thine only begotten Son should be pierced by the
soldier’s lance as He hung upon the Cross: that from
His opened heart, as from a sanctuary of divine
bounty, might be poured out upon us streams of
mercy and grace; and that in His heart always
burning with love for us, the devout may find a haven
of rest, and the penitent a refuge of salvation. And
therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones
and dominions, and with all the heavenly hosts, we
sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy…"

There is far too much talk of God in the abstract, I find, these days, especially from unbelievers. But God is never in the abstract. He is a Person. Knowledge of God is best gleaned through the flesh of Jesus. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is a good reminder that we should not let the enemies of religion set the agenda. They might want to talk about a God whom they do not believe in, but who we do not recognise either. We need to reply by talking about the God who is love, the Incarnate Son. Interestingly the Catholics who have most resisted deChristianisation – the brave folk of the Vendée and the Cristeros in Mexico – all took the Sacred Heart as their rallying cry. So should we.

ALETEIA: Four Things the Sacred Heart Says Without Words

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

2. Antony said to Poemen, 'Our great work is to lay the blame for our sins upon ourselves before God, and to expect to be tempted to our last breath.

June 11, 2015  

(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

NEWS: Pope calls for peace in Putin talks

Pope Francis has met privately with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Vatican, using the talks to call for a "sincere and great effort" aimed at bringing peace to Ukraine.  It was the men's second meeting since Francis became pope in 2013.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said their talks concentrated on the Ukraine conflict and the Middle East, where the Holy See is worried about the fate of the Christian minority.  Fr Lombardi said Francis stressed the need to bring peace to Ukraine through dialogue and implementation of the Minsk accords.  The pontiff also urged access for humanitarian aid.

CRUX ANALYSIS: Will Ukraine upset the odd-couple bond between Putin and the Pope?

EXCERPT: Putin’s Calculated Revival of the Russian Orthodox Church

Putin, who served in the KGB during the waning years of Communism when atheism was state policy, has since embraced the church as a unifying force in Russian society.  He revealed in 2012 that he was illicitly baptized as an infant, the rite performed in secret at the behest of his mother and against the wishes of his staunchly Communist father.

He has spoken very publicly about his Christian faith, with stories sometimes tending toward the miraculous, such as one he tells about a small aluminum cross, given to him by his mother that was recovered from the ashes of a burnt-out building.

Putin’s public religiosity should be seen as a sort of “construct” said Clifford Gaddy, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution and the author of several books on Russia. Many of the stories are likely based in truth, but at the same time, are being used to remind the Russian people of Putin’s historical vision of a greater Russia with roots that extend far beyond its recent Communist past.

“One of his hallmarks is the way [Putin] rewrites history,” said Gaddy. “Everything that would suggest there were schisms or splits in Russian society…this is to be rejected.”

Many have suggested that Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and his increasing belligerence toward states on Russia’s borders suggests a desire to restore the former Soviet Union – the dissolution of which he has called a “tragedy.” But Communism does not seem to be Putin’s preference, as his efforts to rehabilitate the Orthodox Church show.

Since his ascent to power, Putin has overseen the reconstruction or refurbishing of some 23,000 Russian Orthodox churches that fell into disrepair or disuse under Communist rule. He has signed orders restoring to the church its massive landholdings that were seized under Communist rule, making the church one of the largest – and richest – landowners in Russia.

Increasingly, in the past few years, Putin has hewed ever closer to the church’s position on social issues, including conservative stances on homosexuality and abortion.

Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, has publicly praised Putin’s rule over the country, calling it a “miracle from God.”

For his part, Putin also got plenty in return. Kirill has railed against Putin’s opponents and the specter of “Liberalism” in public remarks. The church has also reportedly used its influence in Ukraine to help advance Russia’s cause in both Crimea, which Russia forcibly “annexed” last year, and in the eastern Donbas region, where Russia-backed rebels are fighting for independence from the government in Kiev.

At an Easter Mass in April, Putin praised the Church for creating a “spirit of patriotism” in Russia.

In some respects, the return to influence of the Russian Church represents a reversion to normal for Russia. With the exception of the Communist era, the Church has historically played a major role in defining Russian society and, some would argue, the very idea of what it means to be Russian.

“Russian orthodoxy is central to the notion of Russianness,” said Gaddy.

RELATED ANALYSIS: Putin’s Orthodox Jihad

TRANSLATED PUTIN INTERVIEW: Putin to the Corriere della Sera: "I'm not an aggressor, pact with Europe and parity with the US

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

1. Antony was confused as he meditated upon the depths of God's judgments, and he asked God, 'Lord, how is it that some die young and others grow old and sick?  Why are there some poor and some rich?  Why are there those who are bad and rich and oppress the good poor?'  He heard a voice saying to him, 'Antony, worry about yourself; these other matters are up to God, and it will not do you any good to know them.

June 10, 2015  

(Luk 12:37) Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching. Amen I say to you that he will gird himself and make them sit down to meat and passing will minister unto them.

NCR: Catholic Prophecy, Europe, And The Return Of The King

VIA Frank Rega: Did St. Hildegard prophesy today's crisis in the world and Church?

Did St. Hildegard of Bingen prophesy today's crisis in the world and Church?

In this epoch, leaders “will plot to diverge from the holiness of God's commands.”

LINK: The Message of Our Lady of La Salette

: The Spiritual Battle of Our Time by Rev. William Patrick Casey, C.P.M.

Pope St. John Paul II said many times during the 26 years of his pontificate that we are living at the time of the greatest battle between good and evil that the world has ever seen. He would often make the observation that one of the worst things about this spiritual battle is that relatively few people even seemed to know that it is even taking place, precisely because the spiritual blindness so characteristic of this age is so pervasive, growing wider and deeper with every passing year.
The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., whose cause for canonization has now been introduced in Rome, was probably the greatest dogmatic theologian this country has ever produced. Shortly before his death in December of 2000, Fr. Hardon said that we are now truly living in an age of apostasy, and we are seeing the greatest crisis of faith in the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church.
I have spent the better part of the last 20 years on the road, living out of my suitcase, preaching the Gospel. I am sorry to tell you that everywhere we go today, we see the terrible effects of the great loss of faith in our time. It seems as though every Catholic family has been wounded in this great abandonment of faith in our day. It seems that almost every American family has been wounded in one way or another. Wounded by addiction in one form or another. Wounded by drug abuse. Wounded by alcohol abuse. Wounded by pornography- poisoning souls, minds and marriages, more with every passing day. Pornography has now become, spiritually speaking, America’s most deadly addiction. It is surely one of Satan’s most devastating weapons for the ruin of souls. Multitudes are wounded by infidelity, bad marriages, family breakup and all the psychological, emotional and social devastation that is consequent to it. We all seem to know families that are wounded by suicides, crime, violence, and so many other afflictions that impact upon all of us to the point at which it has all become a threat to the very life and future of this country.
The great historian and writer George Santayana once stated that “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” History has proven time and time again that no great nation, no great civilization has survived a moral collapse of the magnitude of the one we are now witnessing in our time. A recent nationwide survey showed that 80% of Americans interviewed around the country believe that America is a nation in moral decline. We know it is true but, as a people, we lack the moral will to do anything about it.
One must be spiritually blind not to be able to see that there is going on all around us today the constant public attack on Christianity, the constant assault on Christian values and morality, the unprecedented attack on religious liberty and our most basic and essential Constitutional rights, the relentless attack on marriage and human sexuality, and the never-ending attack on the sanctity of human life itself There is no end to any of this in sight, and the spiritual battle of our time is now quickly becoming the spiritual massacre of our time.
Why is all of this happening? It is happening precisely because we, as a people have turned away from God. This is the inevitable outcome when a people lose their sense of God and lose their sense of sin. I would suggest to you that this is why so many of our politicians and judges are attempting to redefine the so-called principle of the separation of Church and state to mean the separation of God from life. This nation has now embarked upon a suicidal quest to completely banish God from public life and to build an atheistic state.
What kind of a world do you think your kids and your grandkids are going to live in if we go on the way that we are, and events continue to develop the way that they have in recent years? History will clearly show that whenever and wherever the true God is driven out, all hell will break loose, and it won’t be long in coming. St. John Vianney, the Cure’ of Ars, once said, “Without God, men will revert to barbarism in three generations.” I would say that we are working on a third generation of essentially faithless and uncatechized Americans right now.
My friends, you should know as well as I that there has got to be a spiritual renewal in this country. There must be a spiritual revival in this land if we are to avert the impending social, moral, economic and political disaster we are rapidly headed toward. It must begin with us. There is only one way to change to world. We must begin by changing one heart, one soul at a time. We must try to change the world by changing that little part of the world that God has placed us in. To the extent to which we answer the call to holiness of life, to the extent to which it is the Holy Spirit living the life of Christ in us, we will transform the world around us and save the life and soul of this nation as God wills.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)  [I John 1:8–2:6; Mark 13:31–14:2]

What the Apostle directed us towards yesterday, the Gospel now suggests directly to us: Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time... Watch ye therefore... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping (Mark 13:33, 35–6). It is necessary to wait, and every instant to keep in mind that the Lord is about to appear and shine like lightning from one end of the universe to the other. It is thought by some that it is possible to replace this waiting upon the Lord with waiting for death. This is good, or at least this should be done. But awaiting the coming of the Lord is one thing, and awaiting death another. They lead to different thoughts, and to different feelings born under the impact of these different thoughts.

Await the day of the Lord, when all will end in an irrevocable determination. After our death, time will still continue in an undecided state; but the day of the Lord will assign everything for eternal ages, and it will be sealed, so you cannot expect any changes. “I have been waiting,” you say. So wait longer, and continue to wait. “But this,” you say, “will poison all my joys.” It will not poison your joys — it will only drive away from your everyday life those joys that are illegitimately so-called. You will still rejoice, only in the Lord. It is possible to wait for the Lord with this joy; and if the Lord finds you in this joy, He will not call you to account, but will praise you.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Obedience

15. The hermits used to say, 'From those who have not long been converted to monastic life, God demands nothing so much as sincere obedience.

June 8, 2015  

(Pro 17:22) A joyful mind maketh age flourishing: a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones.

POPE FRANCIS: “I renew my gratitude to the authorities and all the citizens for the warm welcome. In particular, I thank the dear Catholic community, to which I desired to bring the love of the universal Church. I appreciate the commitment to collaboration and solidarity among people of different religions, urging everyone to continue the work of spiritual and moral reconstruction of society: they work together as true brothers and sisters.  The Lord bless Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D.: I have been asked to address a much-needed topic for the Church today: Can the Pope defect from the faith; has a Pope ever done so? What do historical records and Church documents say?

Some months ago, some of you may have received an article from me in this regard. I have updated and completed it in this booklet I am sending you as a free download (see link below).To make you life a lil easier, kindly eliminate all previous forms of this article sent to you.  Feel free to print and share it as you see fit.


VIA READER: The Pope and Obama

The Pope and Obama are on the same stage in Yankee Stadium in front of a huge crowd.
The Pope leans towards Obama and said, “Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in the crowd go wild with joy? The joy will not be a momentary display, but will go deep into their hearts and they’ll forever speak of this day and rejoice.” Obama replied, “I seriously doubt that with one little wave of your hand that is possible; show me.” His Holiness then backhanded Obama and knocked him off the stage! The crowd roared and cheered wildly and there was happiness throughout the land.

A New Jewish Holiday

Not feeling well, and being concerned about his immortality, Barack Obama consults with a psychic about the date of his death.

Closing her eyes and reaching out to the future, she tells the President, "You will die on a Jewish holiday."

With much anxiety, Barack asks, "Which holiday?"

"It really doesn't matter." She replies. "Whenever you die, it will be a Jewish holiday."

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Obedience

13. The hermits used to say, 'God demand this of Christians: to obey the inspired Scriptures, which contain the pattern of what they must say and do, and agree with the teaching of the orthodox bishops and teachers.

June 5, 2015

(Eph 6:12-13) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect.

POPE FRANCIS: “We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

CERC: Satan and the Millennium by Peter Kreeft

EXCERPT: On Spiritual Warfare | From The Snakebite Letters | Peter Kreeft

When mortals know they're at war, a kind of Emergency Consciousness arises in them. This can be turned to our advantage, by creating anxiety, but it's a very unstable compound because it can also foster self-sacrifice for a higher cause. When they know they're at war, they live with passion and alertness. They don't greedily demand comfort. There are no yuppies on a battlefield.

But when they believe they're not at war, they become soft. They demand their "rights". They think of the earth not as their training ground but as their home. They confuse wants with needs.

How did we get this immense strategic advantage? Propaganda, Braintwister--it's our metier. Of course they had no evidence to prove we didn't exist. They just drifted with "the spirit of the times" and "the climate of opinion" out of the medieval fire and into the modern fog.

We didn't achieve this all at once. The campaign developed in two steps. First, we got them to disbelieve only in sin, not in sanctity; only in Hell, not in that Other Place. But without the depth of the valley, there can be no height to the mountain, and they soon found themselves on a flat and featureless plain. That's why their mental pictures of God, eternity, angels and saints are all so insipid today: There's no contrast. In the Middle Ages, those images were vivid and powerful, moving pictures. They no longer move men's minds.

If there's a war, there must be an enemy. Who do they think their enemy is? There are only four possibilities:

1. They often used to believe their enemies were concrete human beings. This lie was extremely useful to us when people were passionate enough to know how to hate and stupid enough to ignore the teaching of that inveterate troublemaker Paul, that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers."

2. Second, the enemies could be abstract: vice, ignorance, injustice--that sort of thing. That's safely vague. Only scholars can be passionate about abstractions.

3. The third and true possibility, of course, is that they have real, actual spiritual enemies: us.

4. But if they no longer believe that, nor either of the other options, then the only possibility left is that there are no enemies, and no war, and thus no passion.

And that's where we have them now. Ninety-nine out of a hundred of them never once in their lives get up from bed in the morning with the thought that the forthcoming day will involve a battle in the greatest war of all, and that their Commander is sending them on a mission only they can accomplish. Instead, they think of their planet not as a battlefield but as a bathtub.

Be sure to keep the water tepid. At the right moment, we pull the plug. What delight to contemplate their surprise and terror as they discover they can go down the drain!

Your affectionate uncle,


: "Screwtape Proposes A Toast" by C.S. Lewis, published December 19, 1959.

FR. PIETRASZKO'S CORNER: Dialogue on Hell: Why the Damned Remain Damned Forever

: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)[Eph. 6:10–17; Matt. 4:1–11]

The Apostle clothes Christians in the whole armour of God. It is appropriate that this follows the previous lesson. For, if someone, heeding the call of God, has taken on the beginning of a new life through God's grace, providing for his own part all diligence (II Pet. 1:5), then he must not expect to rest on his laurels, but rather to struggle.

He has left the world — for that the world will begin to press him. He was saved from the power of the devil — the devil will chase after him and set snares before him, to throw him off the path of good and drag him back to his domain. He has denied himself, denied selfishness together with a whole horde of passions. But this sin living in us will not suddenly relinquish its free and untrammelled existence as we live in self-pleasure, and every minute it will attempt under various pretexts to establish once more the same life routine that so richly filled and fed it earlier. These are three enemies, each with innumerable hordes; but the commander-in-chief is the devil, whilst his closest helpers are the demons. They run the show in a sinful life — the opponents of a spiritual life.

That is why the Apostle arms the Christian against them as if there were no other enemies at all. He says: we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). If they did not exist, perhaps battles would not exist either. Likewise, as soon as they are repelled and struck down, it takes nothing to repel and defeat the others. So each of you look to see where you need to direct your arrows, or at least look to see from which side you particularly need to defend yourself. Then, defend yourself! The Apostle prescribed several weapons; but all of them have power only through the Lord. That is why experienced spiritual fighters have passed on to us this instruction: “Strike the enemy with the name of the Lord Jesus!”

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Obedience

11. Hyperichius said, 'The monk's service is obedience. He who has this shall have his prayers answered, and shall stand by the Crucified in confident faith. For that was how the Lord went to his cross, being made obedient even unto death' (cf. Phil 2:8)

June 3, 2015

(John 8:31-32) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

MARK MALLET BLOG: The Spirit of Truth


: Lukewarm Catholicism: Scourge Upon the Church and Ruin of Souls by Fr. William Casey

How long has it been since you heard a good sermon on sexual morality? Many bishops and priests no longer believe in sexual sin. People are sick and tired of lukewarm watered down Catholicism. They are sick of superficial, boring and non- committal Catholic preaching. They are sick of being fed false doctrine or no doctrine at all.

They are sick of a lack of sound catechesis for our young people. They have had enough of the rotten sex education programs which do nothing but incite young people’s natural curiosity and tempt them to solve it by personal experience. They are sick of the lack of teaching about sin, virtue, and vice, the Commandments, Confession, family life and sanctity.

They are tired of leaders who won’t make moral judgments publically and stand up and defend the Faith as they are obligated by Christ to do, and who seem to fear everyone’s judgment but God’s!

Moral authority is like muscle tissue. Muscle tissue, if never used, will atrophy and die. This is our present condition. Our people are tired of shepherds who seem to protect the wolves rather than the sheep! They have had enough of the modernist mush! New Age nonsense has been shoved down their throats in place of the true Faith. People are fed up with the superficial spirituality of butterflies, banners and balloons. They have had enough liturgical abuses and irreverence at Holy Mass.

The Council of Trent states, “Where there is irreverence, there will be corruption.” Scandal follows corruption, like night follows the day. There is not now nor has there ever been a New America Church. It is a sham and a lie. If we don’t put an end to it, God will, sooner or later, one way or another! Call it anything you like. It comes in many different forms, by many different names and in many different disguises:

• Lukewarm Catholicism
• Cafeteria Catholicism
• Theological Modernism
• Liberal American Catholicism
• Rationalism or Relativism

Whatever you choose to call it, it is a fatal disease. It is a killer! Ultimately, it leads to paralysis of faith and the ruin of souls.

Lukewarm Catholicism, in all its various forms, can be rooted in many things: weak faith, loss of faith, moral laxity, habitual sin, lack of prayer, pride, material prosperity, spiritual sloth, sheer laziness, worldliness, whatever; but its mindset seems to have permeated everywhere and almost everything in Catholic life today, in one degree or another. It has crept into Catholic Schools, Bible Studies, RCIA programs, Religious Ed programs, Chancery offices and liturgical preaching.

If you recognize the signs of Lukewarm Catholicism, if you see some of the symptoms in yourself or your home, in your family or in your parish, wherever you may see it, please, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the time has come to do something about it! Make changes in your life. Rebuild your interior castle with the seven habits of sanctity.

It is the work of a life-time and requires our determined effort and cooperation with God’s Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments. If we are to have robust Spiritual health, we must develop these SEVEN DAILY HABITS. The Morning Offering, Spiritual Reading, the Rosary, Holy Communion, Mental Prayer, the Angelus and daily examination of Conscience. These seven habits must take priority in our lives for they are more important than meals, sleep, work or recreation.

The Church is mortally wounded in this country. Friends, don’t put it off. Don’t count on others to do it for you. Our time may very well be short. Archbishop Sheen used to say that, before the hand of God comes down upon the world, it always comes down upon the Church.

Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D.: In response to recent outpouring of requests that I share with you the Fatima Consecration article in book format for those who do not have email or internet access, kindly see download link below. You may download, print it and share it as you see fit.

Download link:

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Obedience

10. She also said, 'We ought to behave always with discretion and remain in the community, not following our own will, nor seeking our own good. Like exiles we have benn separated from the things of the world and have given ourselves in faith to the one Father. We need nothing of what we have left behind. There we had reputation and plenty to eat; here we have little to eat an not much of anything else.

June 1, 2015

(John 2:5) His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

AUDIO SANCTO: The Power and Promises of the Rosary

BLOG: Famous Rosary Miracles

VIA HOLY SOULS: This is powerful-
19 year old Soldier saved by Rosary - just like his great-grandfather

It is evident how the Blessed Mother protects us. May God receive the glory and praise !!

A MOMENT WITH MARY: Two white hands “removed something from his eyes”

Bruno Cornacchiola was born on May 9, 1913 in a poor agnostic family of five children. He became a Christian in an Adventist church, which was hostile to the pope.

As a radical Protestant, he intended to kill Pope Pius XII, until the Virgin Mary appeared to him at Tre Fontane (Rome) on April 12, 1947. Tre Fontane is where Saint Paul (whose name was Saul before his conversion) was beheaded.

On April 12, 1947, Bruno had taken his three children to play ball on a field near Tre Fontane; the ball was lost, a search began. Then one of the children, Gianfranco, suddenly knelt at the entrance of a grotto, saying: "The beautiful lady!" The other children came and knelt too, repeating: "The beautiful lady!" Their father tried to pull them away but they had become extremely heavy and he could not move them.

Entering the grotto, Bruno Cornacchiola had the sensation that two white hands "removed something from his eyes," and after a moment of darkness, he saw her too ... The beautiful Lady said: "You are persecuting me, stop now! Return to the holy fold. Ask the people to pray, and to recite the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners, the unbelievers, and for the unity of Christians."


FROM A MOMENT WITH MARY: Idols were overthrown and demons fled

The Church celebrates the feast of the coming of Christ in Egypt on the 24th day of Bashans (the end of May in the Catholic calendar). The Holy Family went to the land of Egypt: Mary, the Virgin Mother, held the little child Jesus in her arms, while Joseph the carpenter walked beside her. They had fled in order to escape Herod who was seeking to kill the child.

The archangel Gabriel came to Joseph in a dream and said to him: ‘‘Arise, take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod will seek the child to destroy him.’’ Joseph got up, took the child and his mother at night, went to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.

The scholars and historians of the Church believe that the Holy Family spent about four years in Egypt. As they approached the pagan statues of Egypt, the statues collapsed in the presence of the Lord, and demons fled.

Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, Bithynia (now Turkey), historian of the Church of the 4th century, wrote an account of this, having witnessed the overthrown idols that crumbled in the presence of Christ.

FROM A MOMENT WITH MARY: They dreamt the same dream

Around the year 1105, the inhabitants of Seninghem (a small town in northern France) and the surrounding province were struck with the terrible disease similar to the plague, commonly called "Saint Anthony’s Fire" or "hell fire" because its victims suffered burning sensations in all parts of their body.

Around the same time, there were two jugglers, one named Itier, the other Norman, who hated each other because Norman had killed Itier’s brother. One night, they both had the same dream: the Virgin Mary appeared to them and told them to go to the Cathedral of Arras (in northern France) and speak to a certain bishop there called Lambert.

Lambert understood that Mary had sent these two men so that he could reconcile them. He spoke to each one separately and then brought them together. He asked each one to give the other the kiss of peace and to spend the night in prayer in the cathedral.

At dawn on Sunday, May 28, 1105 (the feast of Pentecost that year), Mary appeared to them, gave them a lighted candle, and asked them to pour some of its melted wax in water, which they were to give to drink to the sick and to pour on their wounds. Miraculously, all those who drank this water were healed.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Obedience

9. Syncletica said, 'It seems to me that for those who live in monasteries obedience is a higher virtue than chastity, however perfect. Chastity is in danger of pride, obedience has the promise of humility.
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