Watch this year’s politically correct, social justice, slightly over the top, occasionally sappy Way of the Cross – from Rome

waycrossromeClick here to watch
(90 minutes)

Editor’s note: This wonderful annual, highly inspirational event used to be a must-see for Holy Week. But now we have various social justice groups and specially designated “victims of circumstance” competing for attention with the Passion of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior – and that’s a bit “over the top”.

I give it one and a half stars, due to shameless popery and poorly contrived social justice connotations.

Official Vatican Text

Priest reports: Liturgical abuse in Germany “horrible”. Mass is no longer Catholic. And there’s more…

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My colleague said it:
“. I remember, you were pale then and came to my room and hammered your fists against the wall.”
And all this happens even though the bishops, after having been admonished by Rome, sent their priests clear instructions.

You have never let me celebrate, because they have understood that I am a priest who faithfully followed the Roman Missal and fearing perhaps that the faithful could make a comparison. […]

“Not Only Contemptuous Disobedience, but Devilishly”

All this is not only contemptuous disobedience and contempt for the authority of the Church. All this is demonic, because it is non-Catholic thinking and a non-Catholic style in the Catholic Church which is enforced with violence. It not only it thus intended to take away the people of God’s faith, one goes even further: it wants to take away their faith in the Church.

In Rome you know these things exactly. “Perhaps we will soon do something concrete?”

“What?” laughed my colleague. “They will give the Archbishop a cardinal’s hat at the next consistory, because certain Archbishop seats are connected to the dignity of Cardinal. But the owners of this right are obviously not obliged to ensure that their priests obey Church law.”

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No Francis Fone – but it’s close: Pope Francis’ Christmas Gift to Rome’s Poor: Phone Cards and Metro Tickets.

francisfoneRead the story

An interesting article about the identity of the biblical Whore of Babylon, the Mark of the Beast, 666 and related matters

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The Woman Riding the Beast
sculpture outside E.U. Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium

Protestants love to describe The Roman Catholic Church as “The Whore of Babylon” but who did St. John, the author of the Book of Revelation really mean was the Whore? St. John gave us several clues, If we read Revelation we notice that the clothing the Whore was wearing is the key to her identity…

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Vanity Fair Magazine on homosexual clergy in Rome: For fear of laughing out loud, priests sometimes try to avoid making eye contact with one another when hymns like “Hail, Holy Queen” are sung.

The Vatican’s Secret Life
Despite headlines about a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican, and a new Pope promising reform, the Catholic Church’s gay cardinals, monks, and other clergy inhabit a hidden netherworld. In Rome, the author learns how they navigate the dangerous paradox of their lives.

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Scary … seen on the web: “The crisis is over; we have lost…”

“The crisis is over; we have lost. This is no longer just a prediction, it is a simple observation: Rome has been desecrated. We are in the age of darkness. Triumphalist reactions are in vain. The modern world and the Church deserve the punishment that God is raining down on us.” – John Senior

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Rome: Ex-priests allegations about clerical-pedophile ring have no merit.

Patrizzio Poggi, who served 5 years of an 8-year sentence on sex-abuse charges, had told reporters that he could identify 20 priests who were involved in child prostitution. But prosecutors said he could not substantiate the claims, and charged that his reports were “motivated by personal feelings of resentment.” Poggi allegedly became enraged with Church officials who did not defend him against the criminal charges that led to his conviction and imprisonment.

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Editor’s note: Michael Voris/Church Militant TV got way out ahead of this when it initially came to light – assuming that all the charges were true. Now, it will be interesting to see how they handle the retraction.

Pope Francis makes a surprise appearance at Rome’s March for Life

“I greet the participants of the March for Life which took place this morning in Rome and invite everyone to stay focused on the important issue of respect for human life, from the moment of conception,” he said.

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Editor’s note: Now if we could just get Pope Francis to make an appearance in Washington, D.C. this coming January…

On Papalotry

Belief and Obedience

My great teacher, Dietrich von Hildebrande wrote four outstanding books on the present crisis in the Church. Recently, his latest book, The Charitable Anathema was published. I wish we could mail a copy to Rome. A chapter in this book contains one of the most important lectures he ever gave to the Roman Forum. It concerns the difference between belief and obedience. He called it the critical difference. It was masterful.
The point is this: if there is a problem on a question of truth, and there’s a big dispute, and finally Rome speaks (invoking its infallible authority) and says, “This statement must be believed de fide”. Then this is the end of the dispute. Roma locuta causa finita. Rome has spoken, the case is finished. That is the end of it. Therefore, we owe assent of belief to statements of truth.

However, practical decisions of Churchmen, even the highest authorities; the Pope, bishops, priests are something quite different. We do not say, for example, that a command of a Pope or decision of a Pope to call a council is true or not. We can say that it is wise or not … it is opportune or not. Such a decision in no way asks us to assent to its truth. It asks us to obey the command or commands that pertain to us. This is what von Hildebrande meant by difference between belief and obedience. And we Catholics are never obliged to believe that a given command, or given decision of anyone, including the Pope, is necessarily that of the Holy Ghost.

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Submitted by Mark H.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, especially around Christmas, it was the pagans who were converted to Christianity by the Catholic Church. And the world was a much better place, as a result.

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Many would prefer you didn’t know the truth about Constantine and the cross – and the Old Testament precedent for it.

On October 28, 312, Emperor Constantine met Emperor Maxentius in battle just outside the city of Rome at the Milvian Bridge, spanning the Tiber. This battle—occurring exactly 1,700 years ago—is one of the most important events in the history of Christendom, since it was through Constantine’s victory that Christendom began. It is a battle well worth reflecting upon.

As is well known, the previous day Constantine experienced a vision of a cross of light in the sky, with the words “By this sign you shall conquer” (in Greek, not Latin, by the way). That night, so we are told, Constantine had a dream wherein he was told to paint the cross on the shields of his soldiers.

He did. And so it happened, as the vision said.

The next day, October 28, 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius. Interestingly enough, Maxentius could have stayed within the walls of Rome. He was plentifully stocked to endure a siege. Inexplicably, he decided to go out and engage Constantine. His troops were defeated, and Maxentius himself drowned in the Tiber trying to escape.

Such was the beginning of Constantine’s embrace of Christianity, and such was the beginning of the transformation of the Roman Empire from paganism to Christianity.

It is, again, a well-known story, and unfortunately, as with other well-known stories, it is not well-known enough, or at least, not thought about deeply enough.

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Editor’s note: There is ample Old Testament precedent for actions such as this.

In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremias might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians: and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and in writing also, saying: Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians: The Lord the God of heaven hath given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him. Let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord the God of Israel: he is the God that is in Jerusalem. And let all the rest in all places wheresoever they dwell, help him every man from his place, with silver and gold, and goods, and cattle, besides that which they offer freely to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Juda and Benjamin, and the priests, and Levites, and every one whose spirit God had raised up, to go up to build the temple of the Lord, which was in Jerusalem. And all they that were round about, helped their hands with vessels of silver, and gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with furniture, besides what they had offered on their own accord. And king Cyrus brought forth vessels of the temple of the Lord, which Nabuchodonosor had taken from Jerusalem, and had put them in the temple of his god. Now Cyrus king of Persia brought them forth by the hand of Mithridates the son of Gazabar, and numbered them to Sassabasar the prince of Juda. And this is the number of them: thirty bowls of gold, a thousand bowls of silver, nine and twenty knives, thirty cups of gold, Silver cups of a second sort, four hundred and ten: other vessels a thousand. All the vessels of gold and silver, five thousand four hundred: all these Sassabasar brought with them that came up from the captivity of Babylon to Jerusalem.  (Ezra 1:1-11)

The Catholic principle

All other churches in America pretty much belong to what sociologists have called the “denominational mentality,” that for public purposes there’s no real difference what any religious group teaches so long as it falls in line with prevailing social mores.

Once you’ve given in to that, you essentially will stand for nothing anymore because, even within your own church, you’re going to have people deciding what they will believe and what they won’t. In fact, they will start to make the “right to choose” the central tenet of the faith.

The Catholic principle is quite different. All of us have the freedom of the sons and daughters of God, but we don’t get to make up the truth about who God is and what he expects of us.

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Did Constantine’s victory under the sign of the Cross lead to persecution of the Jews?

As Claire Sotinel, Professor of Roman History at the University Paris-Est Cherethites, will explain during her presentation at the international conference “Constantine the Great: The Roots of Europe,” to be held in the Vatican from 18 to 21 April: all Constantine did was open a Christian church in Jerusalem, which at the time was not Jewish, but pagan.

But the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, disagrees. “The conversion of Constantine changed everything,” the spiritual leader of the oldest Jewish community in Europe told Vatican Insider. “That event has had a decisive impact on history, and is closely related to the persecution of the Jews.” The conversion of Constantine, he added, “has divided history into ‘before’ and ‘after,’ causing such turmoil that Emperor Julian’s unsuccessful attempt to remedy it earned him the title of ‘the Apostate.’ It goes against all historical evidence to deny it.”

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Editor’s note: The seminal event for the Jews was the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, which was followed up by many years of wars and rebellions, leaving what remained of the Holy Land under the occupation of pagans, rather than Jews.

But it was the persecution of Christians by the Jews which ultimately contributed most to the separation of the two faiths, since that (along with the grace of God) is what caused St. Peter and St. Paul to journey to Rome, in the first place.

All this happened more than two centuries before Constantine.

The Rabbi does have a point, though. Once Christianity became the “official” faith of the Roman Empire … Judaism … along with many of the Roman’s favorite pagan cults … would soon and forever more … be cast as obsolete and essentially apostate religions.

Decisive victory at the Milvian Bridge was a major boon to the Catholic Church

Constantine’s decisive victory at the Milvian Bridge, he remarked came at a time when “the era of imperial persecution against Christians was about to come to an end, giving way to the evangelization of the entire empire and molding the profile of western Europe and the Balkans; a Europe which gave rise to the values of human dignity, distinction and cooperation between religion and the state, and freedom of conscience, religion and worship.”

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Eusebius’ first hand historical account

In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception. Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.

In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.

We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened. 

We forget how very improbable such a victory was.

Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

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The Peculiar Theology of Our Redemption

The curious case of the Roman Emperor’s mom

A short history of Catholicism (and anti-Catholicism) in the United States

Catholics, generally viewed as completely loyal to the pope—a religious ruler living on another continent of the “Old World”—were labeled as disloyal. How was it possible, many asked, for one to be loyal to the basic precepts of American life—namely democracy, republicanism, and a sense of openness and freedom—while simultaneously holding allegiance to a religious institution that never ascribed to these basic principles?  Throughout the 19th century, Americans believed that Catholics could not negotiate this balance—being loyal to both Rome and Washington—and, therefore, could not be both a good American and a faithful Catholic.

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Inverse reasoning: How corruption in the Catholic Church proves that its claims and teachings are not only valid, but true.

First, in this stage of the process, I think it is helpful to read the stories of other converts.  It helps you feel less alone.  I also think you’ll be struck, as I was struck, at how certain themes recur with uncanny regularity.  In this vein, I highly recommend picking up Blessed John Henry Newman’s Loss and Gain, which is a fictionalized account of Newman’s own conversion to Catholicism in mid-nineteenth century England.  I, at least, was blown away by how the issues confronting the potential Catholic convert in Newman’s day were virtually identical to those of our own.  Some of the conversations and situations recounted in the book could almost have been lifted from experiences Nikki and I had.  It’s also worth checking out books like The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and any of the others we’ve listed on our resource page.

These books, in addition to helping you feel less alone, will also help you feel less like you’re crazy.  This was something I really struggled with myself.  I kept asking myself, “Do I just have some kind of unhealthy need for certainty?  Bunches of people I know and love don’t seem to have any problem with not having great answers to what’s so special about going to worship services on Sunday, what the point of having a minister is, etc.  Maybe I’m just a nutjob.”  Reading all these conversion stories, however, and seeing people struggling (throughout time and space) with the very same issues that I struggled with helped to confirm what I knew deep within me anyway–that it wasn’t “unhealthy” or a weird “psychological tic” to want compelling, non-confusing answers to basic questions about my faith.

Second, I think it’s important to be attuned to what I’ll call the “intangible” signs pointing in the direction of Rome.  We’re not solely intellectual creatures, and I don’t believe that it’s possible to make it all the way to the Church on the basis of pure logic.  For me, as I got closer to the Church, I could look back over the course of my life and identify specific friendships, events, and other circumstances that I had great difficulty explaining as anything other than the workings of God’s grace, leading me Home.  I had a stark choice:  either all of those circumstances were the product of extreme coincidence or God was calling me to the Catholic Church.  And my belief in coincidence only goes so far.

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Orthodox to Catholic convert explains why he did it

His conclusion was that he could not, in good conscience before God, remain Orthodox. He told me that he felt “compelled” to return to what Orthodoxy was in the first few centuries when it was in full communion with the barque of Peter. He also said that he expressed these things to his Orthodox priest as well as to the laity, but that they told him “he did not really understand Orthodoxy”. Over time, he realized that he could not escape the fact that what they were telling him appeared to be only a modern and fabricated Orthodoxy that is expounded by the clergy in spite of the historical facts. He struggled not to behave in a rebellious way about things, so it took him many years before he respectfully and humbly asked to be allowed to go home to the Catholic Church.

Here were his particular reasons for his reconciliation with the Catholic Church:

1. No central authority in Orthodoxy means no clear authority at all–He said that the expressed unity of Orthodoxy ignores the essential (and detrimental) divisions that exist within her ecclesiastical authorities. Not having a central papal authority has caused the Eastern Orthodox to develop into a confused and jumbled group of jurisdictions that speak loudly about their unified nature, while it has little to no real substance. Admittedly, there are “Bishops” and “Archbishops” (yes, I know they use different terms), but since only a Pope can call a proper council, there is no means for Orthodoxy to solve its problems until they humble themselves and submit to the successor of Peter. His assessment is that the reason Orthodoxy rejects the recent doctrinal affirmations of the Catholic Church is more because they reject the Pope than because they reject the doctrines themselves. He believes that this is actually one of the things that attracts people to Orthodoxy over Catholicism: rejection of the papacy and its authority.

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Crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary destroyed in Roman riots.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he “condemned the violence and the fact that a church was desecrated by some protesters who broke in and destroyed some images.” He referred to the clashes in Rome as “horrific.”

The 18th-century church of Santi Marcellino and Pietro is near St John Lateran square where much of Saturday’s violence occurred.

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Wikipedia thesis: Book of Revelation’s “Babylon” probably refers to Jerusalem.

Many Biblical scholars[46] and theologians point out that although Rome was the prevailing pagan power in the 1st century when the Book of Revelation was written, the symbolism of the whore of Babylon refers not to an invading infidel of foreign power, but to an apostate false queen, a former “bride” who has been unfaithful and who, even though she has been divorced and cast out because of unfaithfulness, continues to falsely claim to be the “queen” of the spiritual realm.[47][48][49] This symbolism did not fit the case of Rome at the time. Proponents of this view suggest that the “seven mountains” in Rev 17:9 are the seven hills on which Jerusalem stands and the “fall of Babylon” in Rev 18 is the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE[50]

Several Old Testament prophets referred to Jerusalem as being a spiritual harlot and a mother of such harlotry (Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:1-11; Ezekiel 16:1-43; Ezekiel 23, Galatians 4:25).Some of the these Old Testament prophecies as well as the warnings in the New Testament concerning Jerusalem are in fact very close to the text concerning Babylon in Revelation, suggesting that John may well have actually been citing those prophecies in his description of Babylon.[51]

For example, in Matthew 23:34-37 and Luke 11:47-51, Jesus himself assigned all of the bloodguilt for the killing of the prophets and of the saints (of all time) to the Pharisees of Jerusalem, and, in Revelation 17:6 and 18:20,24, almost identical phrasing is used in charging that very same bloodguilt to Babylon. This is also bolstered by Jesus’ statement that “it’s not possible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33).[52]

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