Category Archives: Catholic Church

Trump ends churches’ refugee-resettlement gravy train

In Luke 20 is an account of yet another attempt by Jewish rabbis and teachers to trip Jesus. Trying to entrap our Lord by catching Him saying something untoward so that they could then hand Him over to the Roman authorities, they sent “spies” to ask Jesus “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”.

To which, Jesus calmly replied that we are to abide by the government’s laws: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25)

In the matter of immigration, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), whom the Catholic Church honors as a Doctor of the Church and regards as its greatest theologian and philosopher, respected a country’s laws governing immigration and would gravely disapprove of illegal “immigrants,” much less their brazen demands for special treatment in the U.S. today. So prudent and concerned was St. Thomas for the wellbeing of the host country that he recommended that even legal immigrants be granted citizenship only after 2 or 3 generations.

See “St. Thomas Aquinas disapproved of illegal immigration and expected all immigrants to assimilate

But Christian churches in the United States have become lawless and law-defying institutions.

In the name of “charity,” some churches are defying and violating U.S. federal government laws on immigration by providing “sanctuary” to those who are in the U.S. illegally and face deportation. See DCG’s Dec. 13, 2016 post, “Churches vow to offer sanctuary to illegal aliens“.

More than defying immigration laws, under the Obama administration, churches and other “faith-based” institutions had formed a lucrative alliance with the U.S. government in aiding and abetting illegal immigration and “refugee” re-settlement, contrary to the Left’s mantra of “separation of church and state”.

As an example, the Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS) had very lucrative contracts with the Obama administration’s HHS, DHS, and other agencies. One such contract was for BCFS to acquire and operate the luxury Palm Aire Resort & Hotel to house illegal “children” at a cost of $50 million. Another contract was for the BCFS to provide “basic shelter care” to 2,400 “unaccompanied alien children” for just four months in 2014, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $182 million. BCFS’s lucrative contracts with the federal government would explain its president and CEO Kevin Dinnin’s bloated annual salary of more than $477,799.

See “Collusion of Church & State in Invasion of Illegals: $182M to house ‘unaccompanied children’ for just 4 months

But under President Trump, that gravy train is drying up.

Michele Jurich reports for Catholic Voice, May 13, 2019, that “With the U.S. government continuing to severely limit the number of refugees who enter the country under its auspices, Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) [in the San Francisco Bay Area] has ended its resettlement program.”

Nationally, according to Refugee Council USA, the Trump administration has admitted only 12,151 refugees, which is less than 40% of the historically low 30,000 refugee admissions goal.

CCEB’s 90-day service contract with the federal government ended on May 8, 2019. As a consequence, although CCEB was scheduled to receive 100 refugees in fiscal year 2019, which began Oct. 1, 2018, the agency received “just eight”. But the numbers of refugees in CCEB’s resettlement program already had decreased over the last two years. In fiscal year 2018, CCEB was projected to receive 145 refugees; 100 were received.

This effectively ends the involvement of about 40 East Bay parishes in setting up apartments, driving newcomers to appointments and helping them feel at home in their new land. Over the past three years, these parishes have been actively involved in co-sponsoring refugee families. Reportedly, “many” of those refugees had worked for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christopher Martinez, CCEB’s chief program officer, said that those who have received assistance from Catholic Charities in the past can still request assistance in legal and housing matters: “Any family, if they need support, can always reach Catholic Charities. We want to build on that legacy.”

Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay in Berkeley and the International Rescue Committee in Oakland will continue to resettle refugees in the East Bay.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Pope Francis calls capitalism ‘a fallacious economic model’

Pope Francis, real name Jorge Bergoglio, is a neo-Marxist liberation theology adherent who, in May 2014, endorsed the redistribution of wealth by the state.

On July 9, 2015, he accepted from Bolivian socialist Evo Morales the sacriligious “Marxifix” — a crucifix in the shape of a hammer and sickle.

On May 3, 2019, speaking like the Green Nazi he is, Bergoglio blamed environmental degradation and the world’s poor on capitalism, calling it “a fallacious economic model that has been followed for too long”.

Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Francis made those remarks in an audience with 60 participants in the meeting, “Mining for the Common Good,” in the Apostolic Palace. The meeting was organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Mining industry executives from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Canada participated in the meeting, along with Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic leaders “dedicated to development” — whatever that means.

In his remarks, Pope Francis blames the state of the world’s environment and of the poor (“the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor”) on capitalism: “The precarious condition of our common home has been the result largely of a fallacious economic model that has been followed for too long” — an economic model that is “profit-oriented, shortsighted, and based on the misconception of unlimited economic growth,” which results in a “disastrous impact on the natural world.”

He said “We need a paradigm shift in all our economic activities” because capitalist economic powers “continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to […] the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment.”

If Pope Francis thinks the solution of the world’s environmental problems is to replace the “outmoded” economic model of capitalism with socialism, he is only displaying his ideological blindness and gross ignorance. Does he not know that, in addition to a human toll in the hundreds of millions, socialism/communism is an unmitigated disaster on the environment? As examples:

  • East Germany: At the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42% of East Germany’s moving water and 24% of its still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water; almost half of the country’s lakes were dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life; 44% of its forests were damaged by acid rain. Sten Nilsson, a Swedish forest ecologist, described East Germany as “on the verge of total ecological collapse.” (The Federalist)
  • Poland and Romania: Children from the Upper Silesia area of Poland had five times more lead in their blood than children from Western European cities. In some areas of Romania, the air was heavily polluted that horses were only allowed to stay for two or three years. (1992 Cato Journal paper)
  • Soviet Union: A 1996 study by the Library of Congress found that post-Soviet Russia’s air was “among the most polluted in the world”; 75% of its surface water was polluted; 50% of all water was not potable (drinkable). Then there is the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, one of numerous episodes of serious environmental damage which plagued the Soviet nuclear sector. Less known than Chernobyl is a 1957 explosion at the Mayak nuclear reactor, which resulted in “long-term contamination of an area of more than 800 to 20,000 square kilometers” with 10,000 people forced to evacuate and an unknown number of deaths. (Wikipedia) The Soviet fleet — the largest nuclear-powered navy in the world — sometimes disposed of reactors by simply dumping them into the ocean.
  • China: Thousands of dead, bloated pigs floating down the river that supplies Shanghai with its drinking water. Air pollution in Beijing so impenetrable the U.S. Embassy’s air quality measuring station can only call it “beyond index.” Industrial towns where rates of cancer are so high they’re known as “cancer villages.” More than half of China’s surface water is so polluted it cannot be treated to make it drinkable; one-quarter of it is so dangerous it can’t even be used for industrial purposes. About 1 million square miles of China is now under desertification — that’s about one-quarter of the country’s total land surface, spread across 18 provinces. (Live Science)

Colin Grabow, a policy analyst based in Washington, DC, points out that the environmental destruction associated with communism is no coincidence or accident of history, but rather a logical outcome of political authoritarianism, an absence of private property rights, and capitalism’s production of wealth and technology. His rebuttal to Pope Francis would be:

There is no society, nor has one ever existed, which featured zero pollution or harm to the environment. The only question is how best to manage it, and which system is best positioned to accomplish this. On that question the answer is surely capitalism, home to the world’s richest countries and cleanest environments. It isn’t even close.

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~Eowyn

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Eucharist and Thundersnow

It was a quiet snowy Sunday morning.

As people filtered into our little Episcopal chapel, the whole world looked like a scene from Currier and Ives. It was the mid 1970s, but it looked like we had been transported into the 19th century. Colors were muted, passing vehicle noises were muffled by soft falling snow. There was no wind, and the temperature was not cold, around 32 degrees.

Color began as we stepped out of our soft gray outdoor world into the church lobby bathed in colored light from stained glass windows, and more color was added by the rich beautiful priestly vestments for the Communion service.

Being a Sacramental congregation (high church Episcopal) and on friendly terms with Charismatics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, our understanding of the nature of the Communion elements was a subject of discussion and friendly debate.

Were the Communion elements Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, or Symbolic Remembrance? There were a lot of discussions on this subject in the weeks leading up to this Sunday morning. I was puzzled. I think most were, except those who hold to their argued positions like good soldiers (whether or not they were right).

The liturgy began, and we enjoyed stirring hymns and words from the Book of Common Prayer.

We proceeded on to the the Eucharist, the reason for the Sunday worship in a Sacramental congregation.

I don’t remember if it happened when the priest said “This is my body” or when he said “This is my blood.” It was one of the two statements. At that moment, on a quiet, windless muffled snowy morning, the silence was shattered!

BOOM!!! Rumble Rumble Rumble Rumble Rumble… 

In stunned silence we proceed to the Communion rail, and kneeling down, received the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The service drew to a close, and we all exchanged greetings and love, smiles and laughter, as we filtered out again into the soft, quiet snowy morning.

This is my body. This is my blood. 

Let God be true, and every man a liar. 

~ TD

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Congressman Clay Higgins confronts bishop on Catholic Church’s hypocrisy on border wall

The dictionary defines “hypocrisy” as “a situation in which someone pretends to believe something . . . that is the opposite of what they do”.

On April 27, 2019, we are told that Pope Francis donated half a million dollars from the Peter’s Pence fund, the source of which are donations by lay Catholics, to assist migrant invaders determined to enter the United States but find themselves “stranded” in Mexico because “the US border remains closed to them.”

Although the Vatican itself is protected by 40 ft. tall walls, Pope Francis tells the U.S. we must take in “migrants”. He even went so far as to say the wellbeing of migrants and refugees supercedes a country’s national security.

40 ft. tall wall that surrounds the Vatican

Anna Giaritelli reports for the Washington Examiner that yesterday, April 30, 2019, during a House subcommittee hearing, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La) deftly exposed the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s hypocrisy on unbridled immigration and border wall.

Higgins is a ranking member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations.

Rep. Higgins asked Bishop Mark Seitz, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops representative for the Catholic Diocese in El Paso, Texas, about the Roman Catholic Church’s wall around its Vatican headquarters in light of Pope Francis’ recently voiced opposition to additional physical barriers on the United States’ southern border:

“Regarding the sovereignty of the church and as it relates and compares with the sovereignty of our nation, the church has been a light for the world for 2,000 years — a place of refuge, a place where a child of God could seek spiritual prosperity. But the sovereignty of the church has been protected by the security of the church. One of the most famous walls in history is the wall around the Vatican. I would ask you, bishop, in the area that your serve, do your churches lock their doors after hours?

Bishop Seitz replied: “Many of them. I would point out that that wall you refer to at the Vatican also has arms embracing and opening to the world, if you’ve been to the … ”

Higgins interjected: “As we do. We have 328 ports of entry — legal entry — into the United States of America.”

Seitz appeared before the committee to share how local nongovernmental organizations were handling the release of as many as hundreds of migrants in southern border cities daily. Catholic charitable groups have been at the forefront of outside groups trying to help house those people and care for them in the hours and days after being released from federal custody.

Higgins asked what the Catholic Church was doing in the Central American countries, where nearly 70% of people identify as Catholic and the Church has an influential position because of that.

Seitz said his counterparts in Central America are “working very hard to dissuade people from leaving their homes.” Higgins pushed for details on how.

Seitz said: “There is an active engagement, but the problem is the governments are so weak and so corrupt that there is no authority on the governmental level that people can go to. The Church is about the only one.”

Here’s a video of Congressman Higgins on border security (h/t Kelleigh):

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~Eowyn

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Pope Francis donates $½ million to aid migrant invaders ‘stranded’ in Mexico

Peter’s Pence (“Alms of St Peter” in Latin) are donations or payments made directly to the Vatican.

The collection for Peter’s Pence is taken each year on the Sunday closest to June 29, the Solemnity of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in the liturgical calendar. As of 2012, the United States has donated the largest amounts, giving some 28% of the total. U.S. donations totaled $75.8 million in 2008, $82.5 million in 2009, $67.7 million in 2010 and $69.7 million in 2011.

Catholics who donate to Peter’s Pence should know that this is what Pope Francis is doing with your money.

Pope Francis conceals the cross to not offend Jewish rabbis

Mexico News Daily reports that the Vatican said in a statement on April 27, 2019, that Pope Francis has donated half a million dollars from the Peter’s Pence fund to assist migrants “stranded in” Mexico by providing them with housing, food and basic necessities.

The “migrants” are mainly from Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala), who continue in hundreds of thousands to march toward the US-Mexico border in “caravans,” intent on entering the United States.

Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez said that in just the first three months of 2019, some 300,000 “migrants” had traveled through Mexico en route to the United States.

This is what the Peter’s Pence website says:

In recent months, thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, having travelled more than 4,000 kilometres on foot and with makeshift vehicles from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. However, the US border remains closed to them.

In 2018, six migrant caravans entered Mexico, for a total of 75,000 people; the arrival of other groups was announced. All these people were stranded, unable to enter the United States, without a home or livelihood. The Catholic Church hosts thousands of them in the hotels within dioceses or religious congregations, providing basic necessities, from housing to clothing.

Media coverage of this emergency has been decreasing and as a result, aid to migrants by the government and private individuals has also decreased.

In this context, Pope Francis donated US $500,000 to assist migrants in Mexico. This amount will be distributed among 27 projects in 16 dioceses and among Mexican religious congregations that have asked for help in order to continue providing housing, food and basic necessities to these our brothers and sisters.

Of these projects, 13 have already been approved for the dioceses of Cuautitlán, Nogales (2), Mazatlán, Querétaro, San Andrés Tuxtla, Nuevo Laredo (2) and Tijuana; as well as for the Scalabrinians, the congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Josefinas Sisters. Another 14 projects are being evaluated. A regulated and transparent use of the resources, which must be accounted for, is required before the aid is assigned.

Thanks to these projects, and thanks to Christian charity and solidarity, the Mexican Bishops hope to be able to continue helping our migrant brothers and sisters.

A reader wrote this comment on California Catholic Daily:

Pope Francis has no authority to make such payments and guarantees. He is acting as an ally of George Soros and other pagan globalist interests. These people [migrants] are taken care of, except for those who are selected as media “actors” to give false testimony about their conditions. How much more obvious can it be that these “caravans” are political events, meant to show that the USA cannot have its own border…. Such terrorism to our own country must be opposed….

That reader/commenter had better watch out because according to Pope Francis, those who always accuse the Church are “relatives of the devil”.

This year, the Peter’s Pence collection will be on June 23. If you’re Catholic, make sure you abstain from donating because your funds will be used to aid and abet the invasion of America.

See “Who’s behind the ‘migrant caravan’ invasion? – George Soros and the telltale Star of David” and “More Evidence Links George Soros To Caravan”.

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~Eowyn

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Please sign petition to Catholic university against pro-abort speaker

The Catholic Church has been and remains staunchly pro-life.

The Church’s position on abortion is that it is an “intrinsic evil,” which means no extenuating circumstance or rationale can mitigate against the intentional killing of an unborn human being a mortal sin. In the words of the Church’s Catechism:

If anything in the object of the act is morally evil, then the act is ordered toward evil; it is then an intrinsically evil act. It is never moral to intentionally choose any intrinsically evil act, regardless of the intended end (the purpose or reason for choosing the act) and regardless of the circumstances (the reasonably anticipated consequences).

But a Catholic university in Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s University, actually has invited pro-abort Mark Shriver from the Kennedy clan with deceptive Kennedyish good-looks to be its commencement speaker.

Below is a message from TFP Student Action:

Pro-life students are bewildered.

Because Mount St. Mary’s University — a Catholic institution in Emmitsburg, Maryland — has picked notorious pro-abortion promoter Mark Shriver as its commencement speaker on May 11, 2019.

But this is why Mr. Shriver is NOT a role model for students:

  • NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland gave Mark Shriver a 100% approval rating for his pro-abortion record when he served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
  • In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Shiver said: “… I will continue to fight for a women’s right to choose [abortion] …”
  • Mr. Shriver is the CEO of Save the Children, a pro-contraception organization with ties to Planned Parenthood.

However, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has stated that the “Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

So, please:

Urge Mount St. Mary’s to drop Mark Shriver like a hot potato and replace him with a commencement speaker who loves God and fights for the right to life.

Every pro-lifer is invited to join this peaceful protest.
Sign your petition.  And share this page.
God bless you!

The petition has 10,233 signatures as of the writing of this post. The goal is 20,000 signatures.

To sign the petition, click here.

~Eowyn

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Man arrested for trying to start a fire with gasoline at NY’s St. Patrick Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York City, narrowly avoided a fate like France’s Notre Dame Cathedral.

On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) tweeted that around 7:55 pm that evening, “a man walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with gas cans and lighter fluid,” and was apprehended by NYPD without incident.

Below is a pic of the gas cans and lighter fluid:

The man was identified by NYPD as Marc Lamparello, 37, a Ph.D. student at City University of New York (CUNY).

Lamparello was apprehended by cathedral security around 8 p.m. and taken into police custody by officers with the NYPD Critical Response Command for attempting to start a fire using a lighter. He had a car nearby to escape the scene. He was recently arrested for refusing to leave a church in Newark, New Jersey, as it was closing, and charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

According to the NYPD, about 90 minutes before Lamparello tried to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he pulled up to the church in a minivan, wandered around for about an hour, then took out of his car four gallons of gasoline, two cans of lighter fluid, and lighters. At around 8 p.m., Lamparello tried to enter the cathedral with the gasoline and lighter fluid, but was prevented from entering by cathedral security. He spilled some of the gasoline on the floor as he was leaving. Police said his intent with the items he was found with seemed to be to “set a fire.”

NYPD said that Lamparello’s story was “not consistent” and suspicious, though they have not yet determined any sort of motive. He claimed he cut through the cathedral as a shortcut, as his van had run out of gas, but the minivan had in fact not run out of gas, which led to police taking him into custody. Lamparello was reportedly cooperative.

On Thursday, April 18, Lamparello was charged with second-degree attempted arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and trespassing. The investigation is ongoing and it is not clear if he could face additional charges.

NYPD have confirmed that Lamparello had recently purchased a one-way airplane ticket from Newark Airport to Rome, Italy, scheduled to depart the next evening (Thursday).

Police described Lamparello as “emotionally disturbed”. When asked if police believe the incident to be terrorism, Deputy Commissioner John Miller said at a briefing: “It’s too early to say that. It’s hard to say what exactly his intentions were. But I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something that we would have great concern over. His story is not consistent. So he is in conversation with detectives right now. I think if you add to that the events in the iconic location, the fire of Notre Dame this week and all the publicity around that.” Miller said Lamparello did not mention the Notre Dame fire during his initial interaction with officers.

Lamparello graduated in 2004 from Boston College, a Jesuit school. Since then, he has been a philosophy instructor at several universities, including Seton Hall University in New Jersey, a diocesean Catholic school administered by the Archdiocese of Newark. He previously worked as a music director for a Catholic parish in New Jersey. According to a bio for a recently published book he wrote, “Marc has been heavily engaged in the study of philosophy from an early age, and is currently working on two other book-length projects, including a witty dialogue on arguments for and against the existence of God, and a series of essays on the epistemology of practical motivation.”

His brother, Adam Lamparello, told the Daily Beast he was “shocked” to hear of Marc’s arrest, and said “this is something that is so not him.”

On Tuesday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City had expressed concern for the safety of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which, like Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, also has a wooden roof. Dolan said: “I thought of St. Patrick’s. I said, ‘Oh my Lord, are we safe?’ Thank God the FDNY has been extraordinarily vigilant and helpful, because we’ve got a wooden roof too,”

St. Patrick’s Cathedral recently underwent a $177 million restoration project, which included new fire safety features.

Sources: Catholic News AgencyHeavy.com.

Update (April 27, 2019):

Marc Lamparello may be a Muslim convert.

Independent journalist Laura Loomer discovered, via a people search, that Lamparello’s last known address, 1781 E. 16th St., Brooklyn, NY 11229, is the same address as the Al Madina Mosque in Brooklyn, New York, which does not have a website or a phone number, but is listed on Google with 12 reviews. The media ignored that address of Lamparello but, instead, focused on an address in New Jersey.

Loomer also found a recent photograph of Lamparello which suggests he may in fact have converted to Islam. The photo shows Lamparello with:

  1. A classic Sunnah beard that, according to Loomer, is worn by Islamic men, particularly Islamic converts.
  2. A Zabiba on his forehead — a prayer bump/mark on the forehead from the friction generated by repeated contact of the forehead with the prayer mat during a Muslim’s daily prayers.

~Eowyn

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Pope Francis’ Vatican says vaccines made from aborted baby cell lines are not immoral

Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.” –J. R. R. Tolkien

8-weeks-old aborted human

Founded in 1994, the Pontifical Academy for Life of the Roman Catholic Church is charged with promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic. Though considered an autonomous entity, the Academy is linked to the departments (“discasteries”) of the Roman Curia. The latter comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See or the Vatican — the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted, which acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority.

In a statement in 2005, the first year of the pontiff of Benedict XVI, on the subject of the many vaccines that use cell lines derived from aborted babies, the Pontifical Academy for Life said that despite the potential benefits of using these vaccines, “there remains a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically.” Parents are urged to ask their physicians to use vaccines not derived from the cell lines of the fetuses aborted in the 1960s if such vaccines exist and, if they don’t, to write to pharmaceutical companies urging the development of alternate vaccines.

The Academy’s position in 2005 was consistent with that of Catholic theologians, who maintain that the use of these morally tainted vaccines constitutes “remote material cooperation,” which could be justified only in compelling circumstances.

That position is consistent with philosopher Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative — that we should treat others as ends, not as means to our end(s). For Kant, treating another merely as a means to our own end or objective is immoral — and that is precisely why vaccines that are developed with cell lines from aborted human babies are immoral.

14 years later, the Pontifical Academy for Life of Pope Francis is singing a completely different tune.

In a statement released in July 2017 but only now made public by the Catholic News Service, the Pontifical Academy recognizes that many of the most common vaccines for measles, rubella and chickenpox are prepared from cell lines that originally were developed from a female fetus aborted in 1964 and a male fetus aborted in 1966. The Academy however says not only is it no longer “remote material cooperation” to use vaccines developed from cell lines of aborted children, it is the moral duty of Catholic parents to vaccinate their children for the good of their children and the community. And the parents can do so with a “clear conscience” that “the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation in voluntary abortion.” 

Not coincidentally, the statement was issued shortly after Pope Francis completely revamped the Pontifical Academy for Life, replacing all of the group’s members and giving the office a new direction.

Although the Pontifical Academy for Life had changed its policy in 2017, it only sent Catholic News Service a working translation of the 2017 document on March 20, 2019, after U.S. news media reported on a Kentucky Catholic family suing the local health department for forcing chickenpox vaccination on their son against their Catholic beliefs.

The boy, Jerome Kunkel, 18, is a senior at Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky, a Catholic K-12 school affiliated with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

On February 5, the health department sent Assumption Academy parents a letter informing them of a chickenpox outbreak and urging them to make sure their children’s vaccinations were up to date. 32 students, 13% of the student body, had contracted the disease.

On March 15, the health department sent the parents another letter, threatening that “all students, grades K-12, without proof of vaccination or proof of immunity against varicella virus will not be allowed to attend school until 21 days after the onset of rash for the last ill student or staff member.”

A day ago, on March 14, the Kunkel family filed a lawsuit in the Boone County Circuit Court alleging that the health department violated Jerome’s First Amendment rights, and that they believed using the vaccine would be “immoral, illegal and sinful” according to their Catholic faith.

In filing the lawsuit, the Kunkel family is being consistent with the handbook of the Assumption Academy, posted on its website, which states:

Schools of the U.S. District of the Society of St. Pius X comply with vaccination policies of local health and education authorities while adhering to moral principles of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not oppose vaccinations in principle, but it does consider as morally illicit the development of vaccines from aborted fetal tissues. In 2005, the Vatican clarified the proper position of all Catholics on this matter, and the SSPX adheres to that declaration.

Of course, little did the Kunkels or Jerome’s Assumption Academy knew that Pope Francis had pulled the rug out from under them by reversing the Church’s policy on vaccines developed from cell lines of aborted babies.

Sources: Catholic World News; Crux

Pope Francis conceals the cross to not offend Jewish rabbis

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~Eowyn

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California priest, Fr. Alex Castillo, suspended and accused of pedophilia fled the country

Fr. Alex Castillo, a priest of the Oakland diocese in the San Francisco Bay Area who was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor, has fled the country.

On January 31, 2019, the Oakland diocese announced that Castillo is under investigation for alleged “inappropriate conduct with a minor” and placed on administrative leave, “not allowed to function publicly as a priest.”

It’s unclear when the alleged sexual misconduct occurred and when the allegation was made. Diocese officials said the case was referred to law enforcement because the church is a mandated reporter, but they did not provide any other details, claiming it “is normative for such a process.” But Melanie Sakoda, a Bay Area leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said “I don’t think it’s particularly helpful for the diocese not to provide any additional information about the allegations or the priest.” (East Bay Times)

Castillo, a native of Costa Rica, worked at a software development company before joining the seminary. He came to the U.S. in 2008, completed his theological studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and was ordained in 2011 by then-Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (now Archbishop of San Francisco).

Fluent in Spanish and English, Castillo organized and directed missionaries in Costa Rica, and, beginning in 2010, taught at the Serra Catechetical Institute for parents and instructors in the faith. He served at Saint Anthony Parish in Oakley and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont, and directed the reopening of the Escuela de Ministerios Pastorales in 2013, where he was an academic dean and taught several courses. In 2014, he was appointed as Secretary to the Bishop and Episcopal Master of Ceremonies, in which capacity he assisted Bishop Michael C. Barber in public sermons. (Mercury News)

In October 2017, Bishop Barber called Castillo “inspiring” in an announcement of the appointment of Castilo as director of the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization overseeing adult ministry. Barber said: “Father Castillo’s deep commitment to our faith and to the people of God in our diocese is inspiring. I know he will lead our work in faith formation and evangelization with integrity and fidelity.”

The (San Jose) Mercury News reports that on March 1, 2019, Oakland police informed diocesan officials that Castillo had fled the country, but officers would not say where he is.

According to the diocese’s chancellor, Steve Wilcox, Castillo had been living at Our Lady of Lourdes rectory in Oakland, “immediately” after he was placed on administrative leave, and that Castillo was looking for “groups of friends to live with for a few days until things calm down.” Wilcox said: “I don’t know whether he found someone to live with, whether it was in San Francisco or some other place. But he didn’t move. He wasn’t officially asked to move.”

Helen Osman, a spokeswoman for the church, said diocese officials last spoke to Castillo on Feb. 20. But attempts to reach him the next day, on Feb. 21, were unsuccessful. Diocesan staff attempted to file a missing persons report on Feb. 22, but were told to first contact “every jail and hospital in the area” before the police would accept the report. On February 23, a missing persons report was filed.

There are several troubling aspects of the Castillo case:

(1) Timing

Clergy members along with teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and others, are required under state law to immediately or as soon as practical report suspected child abuse to police or child welfare authorities when they become aware of it. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor.

In the case of Fr. Castillo:

  • Chancellor Wilcox said that diocesan officials waited three days after a victim reported the abuse to church officials before Castillo was removed from his duties. (Mercury News)
  • Diocese spokeswoman Osman said Castillo was told at the end of the day on Wednesday, Jan. 30, that he had been placed on leave, at which point Chancery staff and priests were also informed.
  • The next day, at 5:14 a.m. on January 31, the Oakland diocese emailed a statement to the news media that it had put Castillo on leave and suspended him from any priestly duties.
  • Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said the department received a call from the diocese at 10:22 a.m. on Thursday, January 31 and dispatched an officer to take a report, who responded after 4 p.m. Watson would not say why police were not notified until Thursday morning, but said the diocese followed state law in reporting to law enforcement. (Mercury News)

Representatives of SNAP are asking the Alameda County District Attorney to investigate when the Diocese of Oakland first learned of Castillo’s child abuse allegations, noting that the diocese publicly announced it had placed the Rev. Alex Castillo on leave five hours before notifying Oakland police. SNAP’s letter to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley says (Mercury News):

“There was obviously a delay in reporting, but whether it was hours, days, weeks, or months, is not entirely clear. We implore you to use your prosecutorial powers to not only investigate the very serious allegations against Fr. Castillo, but also to determine how long the Diocese of Oakland delayed reporting those allegations to law enforcement. The priest may well be a threat to the children, and any cover up by the Diocese endangered boys and girls in Alameda County.”

(2) Lies of Omission

According to the Mercury News, Oakland diocese spokeswoman Osman said that after Castillo was appointed director of the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization in October 2017, “As director of the department, Castillo no longer had a parish assignment, nor day-to-day interactions with children.

That is simply not true.

A parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley, CA, points out in comments on California Catholic Daily on February 2 and March 5, 2019:

“Alex Castillo also celebrated Mass and was a Confessor at St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley, CA, as recently as December 6, 2018. The pastor of St. Joseph the Worker is none other than the Oakland Diocese’s official exorcist, Fr. Kenneth Nobrega.”

“What the news reports on Alex Castillo don’t say is that he was a confessor and regular celebrant of Masses (especially the 11:30A Spanish-language Mass) at St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley, for several years, but the parish’s Sunday Bulletins indicate the parishioners there are not told of Castillo being accused of pedophilia.”

Although on February 2, 2019, the parishioner could still access St. Joseph the Worker’s bulletin of December 6, 2018 (http://www.stjosephtheworkerchurch.org/Downloads/Bulletin12-06-18.pdf), that bulletin is no longer available. Click here to see for yourself.

However, the parishioner has hard copies of bulletins showing Fr. Alex Castillo as a regular celebrant of Masses at St. Joseph the Worker, before and after which he could have interacted with children. As examples, below are screenshots of scans of the bulletins of August 13, 2017 and July 22, 2018.

In October 2018, Oakland diocese officials said they would release the names of priests accused of sexual abuse in about 45 days. It has since pushed that date back “to after Jan. 1” to allow more time to speak with abuse victims and to verify information about priests from religious orders and other dioceses. Osman said the diocese has “had some complications that have delayed us” in issuing the report, “but we still intend to release” it “as soon as it is ready.” Asked if the Castillo matter was among the complications, she said “yes, perhaps.”

SNAP’s Melanie Sakoda has called on state officials to investigate dioceses in California, noting that other states had obtained secret documents of diocese disciplinary records with search warrants. She said: “I hope at some point the government starts doing what they did in Texas, seizing the records, doing their own deep dive and seeing what they come up with.”

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit

Isaiah 40:3, 5, 9-11

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD . . . .
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

The Baptism of our Lord by St. John the Baptist was one of several instances in the Old and New Testaments  — see also Genesis 1:26, John 5:7, and Matthew 28 — when the nature of the Triune Godhead is revealed as the vexing mystery of three Persons in one God.

But the above narrative in Luke 3 also speaks to the importance that Jesus holds for the sacrament of Baptism. Even the Son of God was Baptized, intended for sinners, before He began His public ministry.

These are the words on Baptism of His Apostle, St. Paul:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” -Romans 6:3-4

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:11

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:27

Baptism purifies and sanctifies (makes holy) the person, making him/her a dwelling of the Holy Spirit. That means that without Baptism, a person is without the Holy Spirit and rendered defenseless against the Evil One.

I don’t know what other Christian denominations believe about baptism, but in the Catholic Church — for all its many flaws, including the terrible sins committed by its clergy — the sacrament of Baptism is an act of exorcism:

Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. (#1237 of Catechism of the Catholic Church)

In this manner, through the exorcizing sacrament of Baptism, “all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.”

Moreover, through Baptimism we receive the gift of grace from the Holy Trinity — to believe in God, to love Him, and to grow in goodness. “Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.”

I was baptized when I was four, but fell away from God and from the Church when I entered college, naïvely believing in a charismatic professor named Mitchell Bedford who said the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls had proved Christianity was a myth. What terrible and evil deeds college professors can do.

An agnostic, I wandered in the wilderness for decades until I was born again. This August 9 will be the 17th anniversary of my coming home. On that day in 2002, choking with tears streaming down my face, I made my big Confession for all my sins and He forgave me. I truly believe that, had I not been baptized all those many years ago and given the shield of protection, I would have been lost forever.

So if you are a Christian, don’t make the mistake of postponing the baptism of your child(ren). Baptism — clothing your child “with Christ” — is the most important thing you can and will ever do for your child.

Jesus, I love You with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

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

~Eowyn

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