Category Archives: Religion

Prof John Haldane’s first lecture – better than I expected

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne announced on its website that ‘Professor Haldane is once again in Australia, this time leading an important Catholic educational, cultural and societal project in partnership with the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS).

As part of his visit, he is offering a six-part virtual lecture series entitled The Catholic Contribution, which begins on Thursday 14 October with the question: “What does it mean to be Catholic?”’

One does not know what to expect these days when such an announcement is made about the Church and its history. So, I watched the first lecture, ‘Introduction: What does it mean to be Catholic?’ with curiosity – and some trepidation. No need for the trepidation. The lecture and its tight delivery were excellent. I will be watching the next five.

Big changes in Melbourne archdiocese – who knows about it?

From the website Melbourne Faithful:

‘On 22 May 2021, Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli announced that the Melbourne Archdiocese would be undergoing a radical and wholesale restructure – converting 209 parishes into 50 to 60 Missions. The Archbishop has called this restructure “Take the Way of the Gospel”. The Archbishop’s hope is that the restructure will bring vitality back to our parishes.’

See the rest here…

‘Sister’ Nathalie Becquart – symbol of the Church’s future?

Nathalie Becquart is a member of the French order Xavière Sisters. estasblished in 1921, thus one hundred years old. The order is (to quote) ‘achored in the St Ignatius of Loyola’s Spirituality and rooted in his spiritual exercises’ (my translation.) I have had a look at their website.

From the description, you would think it a traditional female religious order. But the description of a traditional religious order is in stark contrast with the many photos of a joyous group of women in full colourful mufti – all smartly coordinated. Hardly a reflection of Ignatian spirituality, if your mind works according to usual associations, and if you have a traditional conception of the Ignatian exercises. But the person of Ms Becquart raises for me a far more chilling contrast than aspects of clothing.

Sr. Nathalie Becquart, a member of the Xavière Sisters in France, is one of the two new undersecretaries for the Vatican's office of the Synod of Bishops, appointed Feb. 6 by Pope Francis.

Sr Becquart has recently been in Australia to talk about – or rather give a pep talk to followers of her very particular vision of the Church. Bergoglio appointed Becquart as one of two new undersecretaries for the Vatican’s office of the Synod of Bishops. This is a powerful position in Begoglio’s ecclesial vision, so it’s useful to know Sister’s thoughts on the Church, synodality, and all that.

Well, we get an unambiguous view inside sister’s head in an interview she gave to Global Sisters Report: a Project of National Catholic Reporter. The interview is titled: Q & A with Sr. Nathalie Becquart: Upcoming synod could ‘turn a clerical church into a synodal church’.

Continue reading ‘Sister’ Nathalie Becquart – symbol of the Church’s future?

The Fifth Plenary Council of Australia – whose idea was it?

The first sessions of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will take place between 3 and 10 October 2021. There has been a great deal of chatter about the Council within Church circles, Indeed, the rhetoric about ‘deep listening’ and ‘discernment’ and the ‘Synodal Church’ has been thrashed to death. But who started all this? Where did it all come from?

Well, Barb Fraze for (liberal) online CRUX tells us the originator was Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who recently announced his support for a separatist voice of Aboriginals in the Australian Constitution. Coleridge, a Francis devotee, is a supporter of such progressive causes.

In 2015, the archbishop was attending the Synod of bishops in Rome when he was illuminated by what seemed to him ‘the work of the Holy Spirit.’ Why not a Plenary Council for the Church in Australia in which the Synod’s mode of ‘discernment’ could be put into action ?

And so, it came to pass that after much organisational work, the first sessions of the Plenary Council were set for early October (3-10 Oct.) Barb Fraze projects much enthusiasm about the Plenary Council’s prospects, no doubt shared by Archbishop Coleridge and the organisers. But let me focus on several important elements in Ms Fraze’s report.

First, the Plenary Council will not be any old Council with a lot of boring unapproachable clerics, adding more bricks to the fortress of clericalism. No, it will involve the laity – women, the young and other marginalised people.

Second, it will be synodal in form. ‘Synodality’, says Fraze, is a buzzword these days in Catholic circles.’ It certainly is. But don’t pass over the word too quickly. Synodality, announced Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, quoting Francis, ‘is not so much about deeper reflection on this or that theme as it is about learning a new way of living as church’ and this deep reflection is to be “marked at every level by mutual listening and by a pastoral attitude, especially when faced with the temptations of clericalism and rigidity.”

There you have it – the glorious new church, ripped from the ruins of clericalism, sexual abuse, and people lost in stone-age ‘rigidity’. The rigid ones are to be counselled and failing counselling are to be cast into the darkness where they will not interrupt the free and open dialogue of discernment and deep listening.

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In Plenary Council, Australians search for ‘a new way of living as church’

By Barb Fraze Sep 26, 2021 Catholic News Service.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of the listening and dialogue phase of the Australian Catholic Church’s Plenary Council, 220,000 Australians answered the question, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

In 2015, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge was asking himself something similar. Australia was in the midst of a government-mandated investigation into sexual abuse in the church. Australian Catholics were leaving the church.

The Brisbane archbishop was at the Vatican, attending the Synod of Bishops on the family. It was there he had an idea that “seemed to me at the time and still seems to me the work of the Holy Spirit.”

“For the first time — certainly at a Roman synod — I saw discernment in action,” Coleridge wrote earlier this year. “It was messy and unpredictable; at the halfway mark it looked very unlikely that we would achieve anything worth achieving. Yet at the end we did produce something which wasn’t the last word, but which was a real contribution to the ongoing journey of the church.

Read the rest here…

Book awards for theological works

The Australian Catholic University proudly announced that two of their theologians scored the ATF Literary Trust Theological Book Prize for 2021. They are Fr Ormond Rush and Dr David Newheiser.

Here’s what the ACU said about Fr Rush’s book, The Vision of Vatican
II: Its Fundamental Principles
.

“‘It is difficult to overestimate the magnitude of the achievement of Ormond Rush’s Vision of Vatican II. The author offers a remarkable tour de force of the theological and ecclesial principles the author discerns in the documents, background and fundamental vision of Vatican II. Rush does this from the vantage point of half a century of critical engagement, reflection and reception within the wider ecumenical Church. Combining a breadth and depth of scholarship with creativity and insight the author provides a foundational theological resource not simply for students and theologians of Vatican II but for all who would seek to understand some of the great themes that have preoccupied the hearts and minds of Christians in the 20th and 21st century.”

And Dr Heiser’s book, Hope in a Secular Age:

In a post structuralist environment in which the meaning of language is dissipated by multi layered critical analysis Newheiser undertakes a defence of the central Christian idea of hope.

“In an informed and sophisticated manner Newheiser interrogates the resources of the rich tradition of Christian mystical thought. The ‘darkness of unknowing’ in the mystical tradition (Dionysius) and in post-modern notions of deferral (Derrida) provides Newheiser with parameters to engage in the meaningful development of Christian
language in a contemporary context. This fine exegetical and philosophical study offers a highly original, insightful and persuasive account of a hope that is at once ethical, political and spiritual.”

Let me guess. In these (for most people) impenetrable works, there won’t be too much reference to classical realist epistemology and metaphysics, or to Christian Aristotelianism. Behind Derrida and such companions we may sniff the sour odour of Hegel and Marx.

The process of fitting a square peg into a round hole goes on.

Is Bergoglio an antipope with a mission?

It is one thing after another with Pope Bergoglio. The thought that the Catholic Church has a antipope, or non-Catholic pope, or protestant pope (take your pick) is becoming difficult to resist. It is reported, for example, that he says Jesus of Nazareth was not God. What? What were we doing for 2,000 years? Steve Skojec of OnePeterFive comments. I regard this an important informative commentary about the person on the See of Peter.

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Scalfari, Friend of Francis, Claims Pope Believes Jesus Was “Not a God At All”

Steve Skojec, 1P5

Amidst the raging debate over what was at best a syncretistic (and at worst an overtly pagan) opening ceremony for the Amazon Synod, an early push for ending clerical celibacy from Cardinal Hummes, cringe-inducing virtue-signaling from members of the Catholic media, and the jaw-dropping brazenness of a key synod organizer — Bishop Erwin Kräutler — openly supporting women’s ordination, a bomb has been dropped that has overtaken even the wildly controversial opening days of the synod itself.

According to papal friend and repeat interviewer Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica, Pope Francis told the Italian atheist that he believes that “Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, though a man of exceptional virtues, was not a God at all.” (“Sono la prova provata che Gesù di Nazareth una volta diventato uomo, sia pure un uomo di eccezionali virtù, non era affatto un Dio.”)

The editorial itself, published on October 8, can viewed in Italian at La Repubblica. It is currently behind a paywall. Our translation of the section in question is provided by Giuseppe Pellegrino:

‘Pope Francis has never spoken of the Ego as the determining element of man. Whoever has had, as I have several times, the fortune of meeting him and speaking to him with the maximum cultural trust, knows that Pope Francis conceives of the Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, man, not God incarnate. Once he has become incarnate, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man up until his death on the cross. The proof that confirms this reality and that creates a Church that is completely different from others is proven by several episodes that are worth recalling.’

Read the rest here…

Pope Apostate – pictures and actions don’t lie

Pope Francis greets homosexual activist appointed to Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Doug Mainwaring, June 21 2021

VATICAN CITY, June 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – On Saturday Pope Francis greeted Juan Carlos Cruz, an openly homosexual man whom he appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors earlier this year at the Vatican. Cruz is himself a victim of clerical sexual abuse.

“Today I thanked Pope Francis for my appointment and reaffirmed my commitment to continue helping survivors of sexual abuse around the world,” said Cruz in a Tweet on Saturday.  

Pope Francis has repeatedly delivered mixed signals, often seeming to significantly depart from Church teaching regarding the pastoring of individuals afflicted with homosexuality and transgenderism.  

Over the course of his pontificate, Pope Francis has given indications that he is not concerned with addressing homosexual activity according to Church teaching as inherently disordered and intrinsically evil. In the last few years, he has signalled support for legal recognition of same-sex unionswelcomed a former male student and his boyfriend to the Vatican’s U.S. embassy; and a French priest said in a televised interview that Pope Francis approved of his blessing of homosexual couples

Read the rest here…

Historical vision of Archbishop Lefebvre

This film, in French, (see HERE) shows an interview with the great Archbishop Lefebvre defending the traditional Church of the millennia. It is only in recent years that it is has become frighteningly clear how right and prophetic the archbishop was. But could even he have imagined that by 2021 the prospect of female ordination would be staring the Church in the face? Could he have imagined a pope in the vanguard to such radical change? Perhaps he did. Perhaps his vision was so clear that he saw it in the distance if the dissenters were not contained. Equally it is becoming obvious that the SSPX presents the last line of defence against the heretical assault on the Mass of the ages.

The uncompromising Cardinal Pell

Below is a LifeSiteNews report on a wide-ranging interview Cardinal George Pell gave to EWTN’s Colom Flynn. There are three important features of this report.

First, Cardinal Pell shows how strong and forthright he is in his defence of Catholic doctrine. People will not like what he says, he admits, but that does not bother him. His duty is to defend the Catholic Church against attacks from within and without. His manly strength and resolve is the reason he has so much support inside and outside the Church.

Second, his manly strength and resolve is the reason he has so many enemies. Those enemies led by hate-filled Louise Milligan and the billion-dollar government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) got up a lynch mob to perpetrate perhaps the greatest failure ever of Australia’s legal system, so great is their hatred of him for his political and religious views. Those clerics in the Church who joined the Pell lynch mob should fill all decent people with disgust.

Third, perhaps not unconnected to the Pell lynching, is the state of the Catholic Church in Germany. It is precisely the doctrinally corrupted German Church that Cardinal Pell is so outspoken about. At the present measure, as the cardinal describes it, the Church in Germany is de facto protestantized. It prompts me to wonder what it is about the Germans.

Luther led a successful revolt in doctrine and establishment against the Catholic Church. Then we have the destructive philosophies of Marx, Heidegger, Nietsche and a dozen others, leading to the Frankfurt School whose thought is laying waste Western Civilization. Of course, we cannot forget the Germans started two world Wars. Is it to exaggerate to claim that two Germans (Marx and Hitler) led the conflagration of the 20th century?

Cardinal Pell: German bishops’ duty is to ‘uphold the teachings of the Church’

‘I think that there is a percentage of the German church which seems to be resolutely heading in the wrong direction.’

Michael Haynes, 30 April 2021

VATICAN CITY, April 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In a newly released interview, Australian Cardinal George Pell has issued a warning to dissident German clergy, describing their opposition to the perennial teaching of the Church as “ominous,” and stating that it is the “duty of the German bishops to uphold the teachings of Scripture” and the Church.

Cardinal Pell, now aged 79, sat down with EWTN’s Colm Flynn to discuss the second volume of his prison journal. The wide ranging interview, aired on April 27, covered Pell’s 405 days in prison after having been unjustly convicted of child sexual abuse, as well as issues in the Catholic Church today.

One of those prominent topics was the state of the Church in Germany, described by the former prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy as “ominous.”

Read the rest here…