Category Archives: Religion

There are satanists in the U.S. Naval Academy

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and a published author of four books. (Read more about him here.)

In an October 9 post on The American Conservative, Dreher alerts us to the alarming news that there are organized satanists in the U.S. Naval Academy.

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) is the second oldest of the United States’ five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

Dreher reports that an American Conservative “reader affiliated with the US Naval Academy said that people there received this e-mail” on October 8, 2019. Below is a screenshot of the email.

In the interest of legibility, here’s a text of the email that I transcribed from the above image:

Good Afternoon Brigade,

Starting this Thursday, Satanic services will be offered on the yard.

Who: Caters to people who prescribe to the Satanic Temple’s philosophy, however all people of any faith background are welcome to attend!
What: Satanic religious services, discussions of Satanic Philosophy, discussions of literary history of Satan.
When: Every Thursday at 1900.
Where: The Media Room at the back of Stein Hall in the Levy Center
Why: To promote critical thinking and discussion on Satanic values as they pertain to our lives.
How: Just show up!

Please contact Chief [name redacted] with any questions.

Very respectfully,

Dreher continues:

The reader said that e-mail set off a firestorm. A few minutes later, the Chief who authored that e-mail sent this follow-up:

Dreher apologizes for the blurry screenshot of the email: “If you are having trouble reading it, the gist is that the Chief is a confessed Satanist, and is inviting others at the USNA to participate in a Satanic ritual.”

The reader who sent Dreher the information wrote that “the Chief” admits he’s a member of the Satanic Temple and gave links to a website that “talks about Black Masses and ‘unbaptisms’.” The reader said that the command chaplain, a Catholic priest, had no idea any of this was going on, and is furious.

On October 11, 2019, Task & Purpose, a military and veteran-focused digital media company, reports that USNA spokeswoman Cmdr. Alana Garas said the Satanic service would not take place because “that email was sent prematurely…without the review and approval of the Naval Academy’s Command Chaplain, as required by command policy.”

Garas said that a group of midshipmen “with beliefs aligned with those practiced by The Satanic Temple” had requested a space for a “study group” to discuss their satanic beliefs — and not, as the email in question indicated, for holding satanic religious services.

As of 2017, the U.S. military recognized 221 distinct “faith groups” from major religions like the Roman Catholic Church and Islam to more arcane and esoteric affiliations like Druid, Troth, Heathen, and Pagan. In January 2019, a group of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis conducted religious services based in Norse Heathenry with the approval of their commanding officer. In May 2019, the U.S. government officially recognized the Satanic Temple as a tax-exempt religion.

Rod Dreher raises these fundamental and very troubling questions about our polity and society:

The matter of Satanists meeting at the USNA raises the broader question of the limits of tolerance in a liberal society. Is Satanism a religion like every other? Theologically, I would say no. But as a matter of public accommodation in a pluralist polity, a liberal one in which there is a formal separation of Church and State, it is hard to see how lines can be drawn to defend society against this evil. The phenomenon reveals the instability at the heart of classical liberalism…. At what point does liberalism cross the line from being a tool that can be used to defend the Good when it has become unpopular, and becomes instead a clear and present danger to the Good?

H/t John Molloy

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Why we should in *all* circumstances, give thanks

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master!  Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

The human condition is that of suffering.

In one month, I lost the two most important and most loved persons in my life. The losses are immeasurable and my grief ocean-deep. There are times when I have felt abandoned by God.

But then I remind myself of what St. Paul — who was beaten, arrested and imprisoned on more than one occasion, and who was martyred (beheaded) on June 29, AD 67 — said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

For indeed, despite whatever travails and suffering that afflict us, there is still so much for which we have to thank, beginning with the fact that we are still alive.

Not only is it right and true to thank God for our very lives and for His many other gifts (can you count and enumerate yours?), being thankful actually benefits us in at least seven scientifically-proven ways:

  1. Gratitude is good for our physical health: Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health — they exercise more often and are more likely to get regular check-ups.
  2. Gratitude is good for our psychological health: Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, found that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
  3. Gratitude reduces stress and makes us more resilient: For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma by making us more resilient:
    • A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    • Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – also fosters resilience, enabling you to better withstand trauma and stress. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the 9/11 attacks.
  4. Grateful people sleep better: Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed helps you sleep better and longer.
  5. Gratitude opens the door to friendship: Showing appreciation to other people can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude makes us better able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments, and reduces social comparisons which makes us resentful toward people who seem to have more than we have — whether more money, better jobs, better health, or more friends.
  7. Gratitude is good for society by enhancing empathy and reducing aggression: Grateful people are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were sensitive and empathic toward other people; less vengeful; and less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback.

I know how difficult it is to be thankful when we are in the throes of great suffering. But I will now make a list of all the many, many things for which I am grateful. I invite you to make a list as well.

And remember, always: “In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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High school declines free Chick-fil-A lunch because of their LGBT views

Stories like this just prompt us to visit CFA, which we’ll be doing today for lunch.

From Fox News: The principal of a New Orleans high school said his staffers have no desire to “eat mor chikin,” as the administrator turned down a free lunch for teachers catered by Chick-fil-A over what he alleges are the company’s “views” toward the LGBTQ community.

On Oct. 10, Steven Corbett, principal of Lusher High School, said that he had recently declined a free lunch from the chicken-centric chain for his employees, provided through the College Football Playoff Foundation (CFPF), explaining that the restaurant’s values do not align with those of the school.

“Out of respect to our LGBTQ staff, we have chosen to not serve Chick-fil-A at an employee lunch. The #1 rule at Lusher is to ‘Be Kind’ and we live this motto every day,” Corbett told WWL-TV. “Chick-fil-A has been politically outspoken about its views, and we feel it is not part of Lusher’s culture of kindness and community.”

“Anytime an organization is anti-LGBTQ, and has efforts to infringe upon their rights, we thought it was important to support and stand up for their community at this time,” the principal told WDSU, doubling down on his argument.

The catered lunch was reportedly scheduled to take place on Friday, according to WWL-TV.

In response, a spokesperson for the CFPF said that the organization understood, and that teachers at the charter school would receive a meal from another restaurant. “[We are just] glad teachers will have a good lunch tomorrow,” spokesperson Tony Fay said.

Fay added that the teacher’s lunch for Lusher High School staff is one of “several” initiatives the CFPF is launching to thank the New Orleans community for hosting the Sugar Bowl and College Football Championship in 2020.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Because of Trump, American Federation of Teachers union lost 76,000 members and $18M in dues revenue

Founded in Chicago in 1916, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second largest teacher’s labor union in America, the largest being the National Education Association (NEA). 

Members’ dues underwrite much of AFT’s political activities.

Since 1980, AFT and the NEA have contributed nearly $57.4 million to federal campaigns, an amount that is about 30% higher than any single corporation or other union. About 95% of political donations from teachers unions have gone to Democrats:

  • In 2008, AFT donated $1,997,375.00 to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, and $1,784,808.59 to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
  • The AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race — Hillary and AFT president Randi Weingarten are longtime friends. Some AFT members felt the endorsement did not reflect the wishes of rank-and-file AFT members because they supported socialist Bernie Sanders.

According to Department of Labor filings, Weingarten, 61, earned nearly $560,000 in total compensation during the 2013-2014 school year.

On June 27, 2018, in a landmark but narrow 5:4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector union dues violate the First Amendment by compelling nonmembers to “subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern”. Unions will, subsequently, need to gain the affirmative consent of individual teachers before enrolling them in the AFT and NEA.

The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling led directly to the cancellation of membership by a substantial portion of teachers in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Sean Higgins reports for Washington Examiner, Oct. 9, 2019, on the effects of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling in the year since:

  • AFT lost 76,000 members and $18 million in dues revenue.
  • AFT membership declined 4% to 1.7 million members, and would have declined even more if AFT had not made a grassroots outreach to build up its membership by adding 8,000 full-time teachers and 8,000 retiree members.
  • In a recent Labor Department filing, AFT reported having lost some  82,000 “agency fee” payers — from more than 85,000 the previous year to just 3,000. Agency fee payers are people who are not members of a union but are covered by a collective bargaining contract which requires them to pay a union a regular fee. The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, however, means agency fee payers no longer are required to pay a fee to the AFT. The remaining agency fee payers are all at private-sector schools, because the Janus ruling doesn’t cover private-sector employment.

Conservatives must remember this when you find yourself unhappy with President Trump:

The narrow majority of five justices are Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch.

The landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling and the American Federation of Teachers’ loss of members and $18 million in revenue were made possible entirely because of President Trump’s nomination and the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who replaced the late Justice Antonin Scalia, joined the four justices (Alito, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) in the majority ruling.

~Eowyn

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Heresy: Journalist claims Pope Francis said Jesus Christ is not God

Eugenio Scalfari, 95, is an Italian journalist, editor of the news magazine L’espresso (1963–1968), former member of parliament in the Italian Chamber of Deputies (1968–1972), co-founder of the newspaper La Repubblica and its editor from 1976 to 1996.

Scalfari is an atheist and reportedly a long time friend of Pope Francis, real name Jorge Bergoglio.

In July 2014, Scalfari reported, in an interview, Pope Francis’s claim that about 2% (or 8,000) of the Catholic Church’s total number of priests, including bishops and cardinals, were pedophiles.

In 2018, Scalfari wrote an article on his interview with Pope Francis, claiming that the pope said Hell did not exist. Scalfari later admitted that some words attributed to the pontiff “were not shared by Pope Francis” himself, whatever that means.

In an editorial in the October 8, 2019 edition of La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him that once Jesus Christ became incarnate, he was a “man of exceptional virtues” but “not at all a God.”

One must subscribe to La Repubblica in order to read Scalfari’s editorial, but Niccolò Magnani reports for the Italian-language Ilsussidiario.net (Google translation here) that Scalfari wrote:

Whoever had the good fortune of meeting him [Pope Francis] and speaking to him with the utmost cultural confidence, as I have done several times, knows that Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, man, not God incarnate. Once incarnated, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross…. Pope Francis told me: “I am the proven proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, though a man of exceptional virtues, was not at all a God.

According to Magnani, “the Vatican was forced to correct Scalfari,” as the Vatican did on Scalfari’s previous claim that Pope Francis said hell does not exist” or on Scalfari’s fake interviews with Bergoglio.

Director of the Vatican Press Office Matteo Bruni said in a statement:

As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during the talks he had cannot be considered as a report faithful to what was actually said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of what he has heard . . . regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Vatican spokesman Bruni then quoted what Pope Francis said in the general audience of December 18, 2013:

“God wanted to share our human condition to the point of doing one thing with us in the person of Jesus, who is true man and true God. But there is something even more surprising. The presence of God in the midst of humanity did not take place in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by many good and bad things, marked by divisions, wickedness, poverty, bullying and wars. He has chosen to inhabit our history as it is, with all the weight of its limits and its dramas. In doing so he demonstrated his merciful and loving inclination towards human creatures in an unsurpassable way.”

Michael Voris of Church Militant observes that Vatican spokesman Bruni “does not actually deny Scalfari’s characterization, merely hinting at the possibility. Likewise, it does not affirm in any fashion that Pope Francis does indeed hold the divinity of Christ during Our Savior’s earthly ministry.”

For his part, Michael S. Chapman of CNS News points out that if Scalfari indeed had repeatedly misquoted Pope Francis, it is curious that the Vatican website and the Vatican publishing house (LEV) have published Scalfari’s interviews with Pope Francis.

So, did Eugenio Scalfari lie?

What I do know is that Pope Francis joked about Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, is ashamed of the crucifix and conceals it so as not to offend Jews, and refuses to genuflect at the consecration of bread and wine into His Body and Blood. Those are not the behaviors of someone who believes Jesus Christ is God.

Pope Francis conceals the cross to not offend Jewish rabbis

See also:

H/t Steve Quayle

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: On Suffering

Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4

How long, O LORD?  I cry for help
 but you do not listen!
 I cry out to you, “Violence!”
 but you do not intervene.
 Why do you let me see ruin;
 why must I look at misery?
 Destruction and violence are before me;
 there is strife, and clamorous discord.
 Then the LORD answered me and said:
 Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
 so that one can read it readily.
 For the vision still has its time,
 presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
 if it delays, wait for it,
 it will surely come, it will not be late.
 The rash one has no integrity;
 but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Are you suffering?

I am weeping as I write this post, overcome with grief, having lost the two most important persons in my life in the space of a month.

For months, I had prayed for a miraculous intervention, but to no avail.

Do you, as I, lament as Job did in 30:20:

I cry to you, but you do not answer me;
I stand, but you take no notice.

But to suffer is to be human — suffering is the human condition.

If you find that unacceptable and demand an explanation, it’s right there in Genesis 3 — in the account of our first parents’ deliberate defiance of God’s explicit instruction, imagining in their preening grandiosity that they can become “like gods”.

But the exercise of free will is not free of consequence. As God had forewarned Adam and Eve, the issues of disobedience were dire indeed. By their fall, a door was opened to chaos; henceforth a price must be paid for being human. Where once was joy and ease, there would be suffering, hardship, and pain. The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered, and humanity becomes vulnerable to the ravages of sickness, disease and eventual death.

And yet, narcissists that we are, when we are in the throes of suffering, we lament and wail “Why me?,” as if we alone should be spared from the universal human condition.

Did you know that researchers have found that religious, specifically Christian, faith is the most powerful non-pharmaceutical pain reducer?

St. Paul reminds us in Hebrews 4:15:

For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way.

In other words, no one better understands and empathizes with our suffering than Jesus. So, when you are wracked with pain, physical or emotional, look to our Lord on the cross and ask for His help.

2 Timothy 1:7-8

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So…bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Fake Hate Crime: Black girl admits she lied about being attacked by 3 white boys

Last month, this racially-motivated white-on-black hate-crime was widely reported by the MSM — that Amari Allen, 12, a black female student at the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, “where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife works,” said that on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, she was assaulted by three sixth-grade white boys.

Allen claimed that she was about to go down a slide during recess when one of the boys grabbed her and put his hand over her mouth. The second boy grabbed her arms, while the third cut off some of her dreadlocks. Allen said, “They said my hair was nappy and I was ugly.”

 

Allen said that she was afraid to tell anyone until two days later, when a family member was doing her hair and noticed the missing locks. The girl and her grandfather told NBC4 in Washington, DC, that she broke down in tears as she recounted the assault to the family member. Allen’s grandfather said he was deeply shaken by her account: “My heart just broke. I was just paralyzed. I couldn’t get myself together.”

Allen said the same three boys have been bullying her since the beginning of the school year. The family reported the assault to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Insinuating guilt by association, MSM outlets (NBC News, Newsweek, New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast) made it a point that Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, teaches art part time at the private Christian school.

It turns out this is yet another instance of an entirely fake hate-crime.

On Sept. 30, 2019, Allen’s grandparents, who are her legal guardians, admitted that the girl had made the whole thing up. The grandparents issued the following apology that the school sent to the Washington Post:

To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused. To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school. To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.

We understand there will be consequences and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them. We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.

But as Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner points out, the girl’s retraction will not be widely reported:

The reporters who tried to slime Pence with Allen’s allegation . . . know full well that the eventual correction almost never gets the same amount of attention as the original falsehood. Correction or not, the damage is already done. There will not be an end to this sort of sloppy and irresponsible reporting because the dirty not-so-secret is that a significant number of journalists see themselves more as being in the business of ‘resisting’ the Trump White House than keeping the public informed . . . . 

This keeps happening. Newsrooms keep embracing dubious allegations of harmful, bigoted behavior because too many reporters are not operating as reporters. They are operating instead as political activists. They’ve already drawn their conclusions about the Trump White House. Their goal now is to find supporting evidence, and things such as Allen’s since-recanted story are the perfect match.

See also these other fake hate-crimes:

~Éowyn

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St. Francis of Assisi’s end times prophecy and the two popes

At the end of the book, Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi (London: R. Washbourne, 1882), is a section titled “Some Prophecies of the Holy Father St. Francis.” On pp. 248-250 is the following prophecy about the Church (paragraph breaks added):

Shortly before he died in 1226, St. Francis of Assisi called together the members of his order and warned them of great tribulations that would befall the Church in the future, saying:

Act bravely, my Brethren; take courage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.

The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.

Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.

There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.

Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.

Those who preserve their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. But the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head [Jesus Christ], these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish [physically] rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.

Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.

H/t Yahoo News commenter Sabazios for the St. Francis prophecy.

Below are 6 facts for your reflection and discernment:

Fact No. 1

“Church law says a pope’s resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others.” (Reuters)

Fact No. 2

On Feb. 28, 2013, after serving 8 years, Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from the papacy. He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

Described as “the main intellectual force in the Church” since the mid-1980s, now-Pope Emeritus Benedict was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968. A genuine scholar, Benedict’s prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of the West. He regards relativism’s denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.

Fact No. 3

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his spokesmen repeatedly deny he was forced to resign. (Reuters)

Fact No. 4

Despite the denials, speculations that Benedict had been forced to resign persist to this day.

“Two years ago this week, [Pope] Benedict’s announcement that he was stepping down for health reasons shocked the Catholic Church and much of the world. It also loosed conspiracy theorists who believe Benedict was forced to resign…. The circumstances surrounding Benedict’s decision to step down have titillated scholars and the journalists alike, especially given the fact that his resignation came not long after the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal. The release of internal Vatican memos, by some accounts, revealed how Benedict’s efforts to reform the church, like provide transparency on the global sex abuse scandal and the management of the Vatican bank, were undercut by internal politics. (The Atlantic)

Fact No. 5

Homosexuals love Pope Francis:

  • Pro-homo GQ loves the Pope
  • Pope Francis made the cover of Time, New Yorker, Rolling Stone and The Advocate, an LGBT magazine that makes no secret of its problems with previous Popes but chose Francis as “person of the year”. (CNN)

Fact No. 6

The satanic pop singer who calls herself “Madonna” — she who dressed up as the Baphomet in the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show and cavorted with horned masked demons in the recent Grammy Awards show before a cheering crowd also wearing horns — calls Pope Francis “kind of groovy.” (Billboard)

Draw your own conclusion!

See also Joan’s post on St. Francis of Assisi.

~Éowyn

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St. Francis of Assisi

This is a re-publishing of Joan’s 2014 post.

Today, October 4, is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226).

St. Francis is an unusual saint in that he is known and admired by even non-Catholics and non-Christians. Lamentably, most of his admirers know only one facet of St. Francis — his endearing closeness with birds and animals. But there is so much more to this saint.

Did you know that St. Francis was called by Jesus Christ our Lord to reform and repair the Catholic Church, which had fallen to a corrupt and heretical clergy?

History repeats itself, and we find a Church similarly in disrepair in our own time. May St. Francis be a reminder and role model for all faithful clergy and laity as we are called, as he was, to repair and reform a Church in disarray.

See also “St. Francis of Assisi’s end times prophecy and the two popes“.

~Eowyn


I cannot tell you how much St. Francis has helped me in my life with all of the wonderful creatures that Our Dear Lord has entrusted to me, protecting and healing them.  St. Francis is one of my favorite saints, and I love him very much, a “giant” of holiness.  Today, the Universal Church celebrates his Feast Day.

Dante Alighieri, the famous poet, the author of the Divine Comedy, said of St. Francis, “A sun was born into the world.”  Francis was born at the end of 1181 or the beginning of 1182, to a rich family, his father being a successful cloth merchant and being raised by an adoring French mother.  He lived a carefree life, most interested in chivalrous ideals and chivalrous dreams of greatness and nobility.  Francis, age 20, participated in a military campaign, was taken prisoner and later released because he was so very ill.  This illness caused Francis to search his soul and look inward to his purpose in life, to determine and define what was important in life.  He had abandoned his worldly lifestyle and began to notice the beauty, purpose and virtues of God’s creatures, whom he loved and how they lived in simplicity.

One day, Francis rode the plain of Assisi and noticed a disfigured and horrible looking leper man.  Francis got off his horse, wherein the leper outstretched his hands to receive alms.  But Francis did more than give him money, he kissed the leper because he saw Jesus in Him, he saw “Jesus in disguise,” as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say – an event that changed Francis’ life.

After his exchange with the leper, Francis visited hospitals, served the sick and the forgotten, gave clothes and money to those who needed it.  On a particular day in or about 1205, Francis was praying at the Church of St. Damian outside the walls of Assisi when he heard a voice, an interior instruction that he took to heart, “Francis, go and repair my house, which you see is falling down.”  Francis thought that Our Lord meant to repair that specific Church, when indeed and in fact Our Lord was referring Francis to renew and repair His Church.  Pope Benedict XVI tells us, “…that at that moment, St. Francis was called to repair the small church, but the ruinous state of the building was a symbol of the dramatic and disquieting situation of the Church herself.  At that time, the Church had a superficial faith which did not shape or transform life, a scarcely religious clergy, and a chilling of love.  It was an interior destruction of the Church which also brought a decomposition of unity, with the birth of heretical movements.  Yet, there at the centre of the Church in ruins was the Crucified Lord, and he spoke:  He called for renewal, He called Francis to the manual labour of repairing the small Church of St. Damian, the symbol of a much deeper call to Renew Christ’s own Church, with her radicality of faith and her loving enthusiasm for Christ.”

Francis took clothes and supplies from his father’s storage house, selling these items, as well as selling his father’s horse.  He brought these monies to the priest at St. Damian, but the priest would not take the money, Francis leaving the money on a window sill.  Francis’ father learned what had happened and demanded that Francis return everything that he had taken from him, reporting the matter to Bishop Guido of Assisi.  The Bishop told Francis to return these monies to his father, “He (God) does not wish His Church to profit by goods which may have been gotten unjustly.”  Francis responded, “The clothes I wear are also his.  I’ll give them back.”  He stripped off his clothes and gave them to his father saying, “Hitherto I have called you father on earth; but now I say, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven. “ Clothes of a laborer were found and given to Francis, wherein Francis made a cross upon the cloth with some chalk and left.

Pope Benedict tells us about another event that comes to mind , of the dream of Pope Innocent III in 1207.  “…he saw the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the mother of all churches, collapsing and one small and insignificant brother, whom the Pope recognized as Francis , when Francis later visited him.”  Pope Benedict goes on to say, “…it is important to note that St. Francis does not renew the Church without or in opposition to the Pope, but only in communion with him.  The two realities go together:  the Successor of Peter, the Bishops, the Church founded on the succession of the Apostles and the new charism that the Holy Spirit brought to life at that time for the Church’s renewal.  Authentic renewal grew from these together.”

In 1208, Francis lived as a hermit, but then had another internal transformation, affected by the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ discourse to the apostles whom he sent out to evangelize and teach the nations.  Accordingly, Francis went out just as the apostles did to teach by example, living in poverty and preaching the Gospel.  He had other brothers, companions who followed his way of life.  On one particular day, Francis told the brothers they were going to preach.  Francis and his band of brothers walked through a town but said nothing.  One of the brothers asked Francis why they didn’t preach.  Francis told him that they did preach saying, “Preach the Gospel constantly, and when necessary, use words.”  It was, therefore, Francis’ incredible example of holiness, and that of the brother companions, that taught the people of God.

In 1209 Francis and his brother companions travelled to Rome to propose to Pope Innocent III the plan for a new kind of Christian life.  The Pope welcomed Francis and of course, recognized Francis from the dream that he had.  The Pope welcomed Francis and encouraged him.  Pope Benedict XVI tells us that “St. Francis really did have an extremely intimate relationship with Jesus and with the word of God, that he wanted to pursue …: just as it is, in all its radicality and truth.  It is also true that initially he did not intend to create an Order with the necessary canonical forms.  Rather, he simply wanted, through the word of God and the presence of the Lord, to renew the People of God, to call them back to listening to the Word and to literal obedience to Christ.  Furthermore, he knew that Christ was never “mine” but is always “ours”, that “I” cannot possess Christ that “I” cannot rebuild in opposition to the Church, her will and her teaching.  Instead, it is only in communion with the Church built on the Apostolic succession that obedience too, to the Word of God can be renewed.”  And Pope Benedict goes on to say that “Francis knew that the centre of the Church is the Eucharist, where the Body of Christ and His Blood are made present through the priesthood, the Eucharist and the communion of the Church.  Wherever the priesthood and the Eucharist and the Church come together, it is there alone that the world of God also dwells.  The real historical Francis was the Francis of the Church, and precisely in this way he continues to speak to non-believers and believers of other confessions and religions as well.”  Indeed and in fact, in St. Francis’ “First Admonition,” he says very passionately:

“Wherefore, O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart (Ps. 4,3)?  Why do you not recognize the truth and believe in the Son of God (John 9, 35)?  Behold:  daily he humbles himself (Phil 2,8) as when from heaven’s royal throne (Wisd 18, 15) he came down into the womb of the Virgin.  Daily He Himself comes to us with like humility; daily he descends from the bosom of the Father (John 1, 18; 6, 38) upon the altar in the hands of the priest.  And as he appeared to the Apostles in true flesh, so now also he shows himself to us in the sacred bread.  And as they by their bodily sight saw only His flesh, yet contemplating Him with the eyes of the spirit believed Him to be very God, so we also, as we see our bodily eyes the bread and wine, are to see and firmly believe that it is His most holy body and blood living and true.  And in this way, the Lord is always with His faithful, as he Himself says:  “Behold, I am with you until the end of the world (Mt 28, 20).”

And in the writings of St. Francis, (Francis of Assisi, Scritti, Editrici Francescane, Padova 2002, 401), Pope Benedict reminds us of the love that Francis had for Jesus in a special way in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, “Let everyone be struck with fear, let the whole world tremble, and let the heavens exult, when Christ, the Son of the living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest.  Oh stupendous dignity!  O humble sublimity, that the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation He hides himself under an ordinary piece of bread.”

Francis and his friars became numerous and established themselves at the Portiuncula, or the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the center of Franciscan spirituality.  Clare, a young woman of Assisi from a noble and wealthy family loved Franciscan spirituality, and established the Order of Poor Clares, the second Franciscan order.

Pope Innocent III’s Successor, Pope Honorius III, in 1218, issued a “Bull” which is a formal document, a pronouncement, which supported Francis and his development of the first Friars Minor, who began to spread the Gospel to other European countries, and even in Morocco.  In 1220, Francis visited the Holy Land, sowed the seed which is evident in today’s world, making this place the Site for the Order, showing today the great merits of the Franciscans in the Holy Land.  After Francis returned to Italy from his missions, he developed his “Rule” which was approved by the Pope.

Francis also had great communication skills with God’s creatures and control of them, a gift given to Him by God.  “His love for and power over the lower animals were noted and often referred to by those who knew him:  his rebuke to the swallows while he was preaching at Alvian, “My sisters the swallows, it is now my turn to speak.  You have been talking enough all this time;” the birds that perched around him while he told them to praise their Creator; the rabbit that would not leave him at Lake Trasimene; and the tamed wolf at Gubbio…”  Francis even had a pet falcon that he loved very much, who accompanied him where he went.

In 1224, Francis saw a vision of Jesus crucified in the form of a seraph, and after that vision, received the stigmata from the Seraph Crucifix, becoming one with the Crucified Jesus.  Francis, thus, suffered with the wounds of Christ.  Francis died humbly, on the earthen floor, on October 3, 1226, in the Portiuncula with his brother friars.

Pope Benedict XVI I believe summarizes St. Francis beautifully.  He said:  “It has been said that Francis represents an alter Christus, that he was truly a living icon of Christ…Indeed, this was his ideal: to be like Jesus, to contemplate Christ in the Gospel, to love him intensely and to imitate his virtues.  In particular, he wished to ascribe interior and exterior poverty with a fundamental value, which he also taught to his spiritual sons.  The first Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3) found a luminous fulfilment in the life and words of St. Francis.  Truly, dear friends, the saints are the best interpreters of the Bible.  As they incarnate the word of God in their own lives, they make it more captivating then ever, so that it really speaks to us.  The witness of Francis, who loved poverty as a means to follow Christ with dedication and total freedom, continues to be for us too an invitation to cultivate interior poverty in order to grow in our trust of God, also by adopting a sober lifestyle and a detachment from material goods…”

Finally, Pope Benedict XVI  says, “Dear friends, Francis was a great Saint and a joyful man.  His simplicity, his humility, his faith, his love for Christ, his goodness towards every man and every woman, brought him gladness in every circumstance.  Indeed, there subsists an intimate and indissoluble relationship between holiness and joy.  A French writer once wrote that there is only one sorrow in the world:  not to be saints, that is, not to be near to God.  Looking at the testimony of St. Francis, we understand that this is the secret of true happiness:  to become saints, close to God!”

Happy Feast Day, dearest St. Francis!  I hope you are having a big party in heaven today with Our Lord, the Blessed Mother Mary whom you loved and honored, with the angels and the saints, along with all of God’s blessed creatures!  I love you!

-Joan

Sources:

  • General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, Paul VI Audience Hall, January 27, 2010, website of the Vatican, the “Holy See”.
  • “The Body of the Lord,” website of the Vatican, the “Holy See”.
  • One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press, AOL Time Warner Book Group.
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Swedish church calls climate-activist Greta Thunberg ‘successor’ to Jesus Christ

The Left really are insane.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old autistic Swedish “environmental activist” who has Asperger syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and selective mutism.

On September 23, 2019, Thunberg became an instant darling of the Left when she gave a doomsday speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, in which she berated the assembled world leaders, including President Trump, of talking only about money and “fairytales of eternal economic growth,” and having “stolen” her dreams and her childhood with their “empty words”.

She then proclaimed:

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction.”

Thunberg’s speech reminded some netizens of a tweet posted last December 1, 2018, by Sweden’s Linhamn Church, calling Thunberg a “successor” to Jesus Christ.

The Lutheran Church of Sweden is the national church of Sweden. Linhamn Church is a local Church of Sweden in Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden.

In the event the Limhamn Church takes down the tweet, below is a screenshot of the tweet in Swedish, followed by Google’s English translation:

H/t twitterer @CTyrants

See also:

~Eowyn

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