Pope Francis Rattles Some Chains

two pillars, benedict and francis

By Charlie Johnston

(This article has been updated to correct several errors)

Once again, Pope Francis has rattled folks with off-the-cuff comments he made on a plane heading back to Rome.

According to news reports (which I never completely trust), when asked if abortion or contraception could be considered the lesser of two evils when trying to combat the Zika virus, the Pope said there is a clear difference between contraception and abortion: that abortion is a crime and can never be considered a “lesser evil,” but that contraception in some extreme cases to avoid pregnancy is not an absolute evil.  Pope Francis cited the case when Pope Paul VI approved giving nuns in the Belgian Congo contraception to prevent them from becoming pregnant during the frequent rapes they faced as an example of the type of extraordinary circumstances he was talking about. And yet, Pope Francis did not even actually say contraceptives may ever be licit. He said there can be good cause for avoiding pregnancy at times – and the media combined that with his comment that contraception is not always an absolute evil to mean he approved contraception.

Both of these Papal comments on the limited use of contraceptives over the last half-century have been focused on dire circumstances and extraordinary situations. Both of the Popes who voiced such conditional waivers remained adamant that abortion is always and everywhere a crime against humanity.

One need not agree with Pope Francis to acknowledge his comments were neither unprecedented nor inconsistent with the policy of a revered predecessor. Certainly, at the time Pope Paul VI made his allowance for nuns in a hideously dangerous country, contraception almost exclusively meant condoms or the pill. Some modern products called contraceptives are actually abortaficients, so Pope Francis might have made explicit that those are never licit – but he did say that abortion is always a crime, so it certainly was implicit in his comments.

More worrisome were his comments that Donald Trump was not Christian “…if he wants to address illegal immigration only by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.” The word, ‘only,’ in this comment is an important one, I think. If that is your only approach, it is problematic, though I question whether it is so problematic one should virtually excommunicate someone, particularly when pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo and many more do not even get denied Communion.

More practically, when you are head of state of a walled city with some of the most restrictive immigration regulations in the world – as is Pope Francis – you might want to be a little restrained about casting into outer darkness those who claim to want to build a system almost identical to the one you enforce. Vatican City is entirely walled. I can see the TV ad now: Donald Trump standing before the walls of Vatican City and solemnly saying in the most stentorian voice he can muster, “Pope Francis, tear down this wall!”

I am not a fan of Trump, though I have a few friends I respect who are. Personally, I think he is the sort of banana-republic style strongman demagogue who almost inevitably rises when public confidence in social institutions has collapsed. I am delighted to be assured that our next stable national leader will not come from the electoral process. I see Trump as Juan Peron, Bernie Sanders as Vladimir Lenin without the brains, and Hilary Clinton as Evita Peron without the charm. Any one of them would only solidify our descent into complete lawlessness. Even so, I wish Pope Francis would be more careful about giving opponents such easy talking points whenever he talks off the cuff on a plane.

Truth is, I get very frustrated by the whole immigration debate. It has descended into a banal dualism that has no balance, as if the only potential solutions were a fortified wall or no standards at all. We are called to be our brother’s keepers – but that does not mean you are obligated to invite the homeless to take up residence in your children’s bedrooms. We are called to take care of the safety and needs of those given directly into our care first, and then do all we can to alleviate the need of those who suffer. But while we are called to care first and primarily for the needs and safety of those given formally into our care, that does not mean we should hunker down in a bunker shutting everyone else out. That applies to nations as well as families.

I have long been contemplating a piece on immigration and our proper duty. On the one hand, I am far more permissive than most conservatives on the matter. If you have no serious criminal record in your native country AND that can be verified, if you have a sponsor who will guarantee your support for the first three years, if you will learn the language and pass a civics test, if you will embrace the values of your new country and prove it by these tasks, I would dramatically streamline approvals for entry. On the other hand, I firmly believe a nation has not only the right, but the obligation, to protect its borders and assure assimilation, for to do so is to protect the existing citizens it is formally obliged to defend. So I would rigorously demand that those regulations were followed. I would demand that those institutions which shrilly demand open borders put their money where their mouth is – and offer sponsorships for those they would bring in, rather than posturing at others’ expense and at the expense of legitimate social cohesion. Under those circumstances, people are not a burden, but an asset – and the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free become a gift of God. But if all we are going to do is expand the welfare state we are killing our country and sapping people of their creative potential. I guess soon I must put that piece together in full.

This much is certain, though: Catholic doctrine is not formulated by off the cuff remarks by the Pope on plane rides. Still, I can’t help but wonder sometimes if maybe Pope Francis should travel by boat more often.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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428 Responses to Pope Francis Rattles Some Chains

  1. Dave says:

    I’d like to raise one point that is seldom if ever raised. That is that the problem of illegal immigration both in the U.S. and the west is rooted in abortion completely. No amount of laws or bluster is going to ward off the cup that we (as nations) must drink. When we sacrifice our babies for the false gods of prosperity and security, we will get neither. In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us the well known verses, “when I was a stranger you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, hungry and you gave me to eat, thirsty and you gave me to drink, sick and you cared for me”. When we bring a child into the world, we do all these things. If we (as nations) quibble over the person-hood of babies to justify their death, then God is going to present a group of real actual people to see just how attached we are to our wealth and comfort.

    In the case of the U.S. we have a stream of people from Mexico, central and south America, In Europe, it is a flood of people from mainly muslim countries, but the test, and I believe the chastisement is being given. Only a prayerful changing of hearts will save us. There will be no political solution.

    Listening to Donald Trump has been a guilty pleasure and I stress the guilty part. While I take pleasure at his bashing of political correctness, and the media bastions, I ultimately see him as a pompous blowhard, and representative of a rebellious spirit. One not willing to be humbly repentant.

    Liked by 13 people

  2. andrewpocta says:

    My wife and I, due to extremely extraordinary circumstances (experimental fetal surgery and two subsequent C-Sections because of our children’s birth defects), have had to “avoid pregnancy” for 2-3 years between each birth. In the first few years of our marriage, we had to learn NFP down to every excruciatingly minute detail…..for the sake of her health. Pope Francis is slick…..and never specifically said that artificial birth control methods are lesser of two evils…..he said:

    “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil”.

    In referring to Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI regarding this topic, the point is that humanity is messy…..and pastorally, everything doesn’t simply fit into the black and white.

    Liked by 5 people

    • janet333 says:

      Pope Francis…..”.. never specifically said that artificial birth control methods are lesser of two evils…..he said: “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil”.

      Exactly Andrew. Here is the question from the reporter…

      ” Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?”

      Pope Francis said “avoiding pregnancy” is not always an evil, such as in the case of the targeted nuns, or in the case of the Zika virus. He does NOT say that both cases require contraception. There is also Natural Family Planning.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. CrewDog says:

    Yes! I believe that the Pope is “playing his part” as directed but as I’ve become old, cynical and fatalistic ….??!! … The Pope, as I see it, is hastening the implosion of the USA. I don’t like it but one day I hope to understand it?
    “El Papa’ embraces Raul Castro but calls Donald Trump anti-Christian!–Silvio Canto, Jr.”
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/02/el_papa_embraces_raul_castro_but_calls_donald_trump_antichristian.html
    “Papal Bull: Why Is Francis Trying to Smackdown Trump?”
    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/papal-bull-why-francis-trying-smackdown-trump-15254
    “Franklin Graham to Pope Francis: ‘Build a Bridge to Donald Trump”
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/19/franklin-graham-to-pope-francis-build-a-bridge-to-donald-trump/

    GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC & ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph77 says:

      Crew Dog,
      You”ve said it exactly as it should be! Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff comments are a slap on the face of all Christians who want to maintain the integrity of our borders from the invasion of illegal immigrants who are being cared for more than own impoverished people. Pope Francis has inserted himself in one of the most controversial hot-button issues in our electoral process.and has unleashed a firestorm of outrage against him, the Catholic Church and Catholics in the USA. Pope Francis was silent, not one word of condemnation of Castro’s aggression against the Catholic Church and in fact embraced him when he visited there. When obama violated the conscience of Christians with contraception and abortion mandates in his healthscare.Pope Francis was silent and, when he visited, he had an affable meeting with him in secret. The great bridges of the Catholic Church to the world which St. John Paul built when he and President Regan brought the walls of communism down, were severely undermined by Pope Francis judgement against Donald Trump. There is more to be said. Enough is enough of these off-the-cuff comments!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Judy says:

        One the secular level of things, Francis is much like Obama in a cleric’s gown. Francis believes the same things Obama does in regard to government, science, economics, etc, even though he is not an expert on any of those things. He seems to intensely dislike capitalism and probably the USA, and appears to be a real socialist despite the fact that socialism has never succeeded anywhere for anyone, except for the ruling class of the country that imposes it and governs with central planning and an iron fist . Right now socialism/central planning is showing just how ‘successful’ it really is in Venezuela. Venezuela is in a shambles. (Mystic Maria Esperanza said it would all start there.)….So now he embraces Castro and seems to forgive all of the anti-Catholic regime and all their crimes. (I know about life there. I talked to the Marielitos directly)… This Pope is very biased and, yes, politically minded. When he stood and gave a speech in front of the biggest abortion president this country has ever seen, he did not utter a word about this huge sin. He avoided it…. Yet he judged Trump in public for less. ….Francis seems to think that America is very rich (yikes! no longer!) and can save every single person who claims they need to be saved…even though we have no idea why each individual is really coming here. Our border guards are directed not to catch and release. (Why have border guards at all?) There is little doubt that America’s enemies are here in droves….. You know, Christ said the poor would always be with us. In fact, it looks like we will all be headed that direction soon.

        Like

        • yooper mike says:

          I agree, our Pope needs to stop talking off the cuff. It’s not what a Pope does or should be doing, he’s just opening himself up for more confusion. Donald Trump on the other hand may be pompous but he’s saying what a lot of us are thinking about the government and politicians these days. Everything seems to be turned upside down regarding the Pope, a presidential candidate and everything else. The Satan is at work promoting more of what he is. It won’t end until its over, so be patient.

          Liked by 1 person

          • janet333 says:

            Of course the Pope should have a say in these matters. All children are God’s children, no matter their race or creed. It’s not as if he’s advising anyone who to vote for. Besides it seems Pope Francis was set up. I posted this elsewhere.

            Liked by 2 people

        • janet333 says:

          Hi Judy

          ..”… When he stood and gave a speech in front of the biggest abortion president this country has ever seen, he did not utter a word about this huge sin.”

          You think President Obama doesn’t know that the Catholic Church is against Abortion? Of course he does..and he knows exactly where the Pope stands on this issue. The Pope has spoken many times on the evil of abortion…the “throw-away culture” that justifies disposing of lives, and said doctors in particular had been forced into situations where they are called to “not respect life.”

          “Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” he said….. He urged the gynecologists to abide by their consciences and help bring lives into the world. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things,” he said.

          Liked by 4 people

          • Judy says:

            Mother Teresa also knew that Americans know the Church’s position on abortion. She was also brave enough to bring it up a a U.S. prayer breakfast and described how this sin is so very destructive in the modern age. Now Mother Teresa certainly worked to help the poorest of the poor and she acknowledged that there are many problems in the world, including feeding the poor. But she was extremely concerned about what is probably the greatest sin of the day and she put a voice to that in her speech:

            http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/abortion/catholic-teaching/blessed-mother-teresa-on-abortion/

            Sin blinds people. They must be reminded to pay attention to changing their lives, and in the case of leaders, their policies. The USA is funding abortions all around the world, even at late stages.

            I believe that the hand of God controls the climate and the weather. If the weather is changing, it is because the hand of God is not protecting us (due to serious sin). The weather has always been changing. The real problem is sin.

            A face to face encounter is very personal and very powerful. I think it was a missed opportunity to say something. If not at that moment, then sometime during his trip here.
            Does anyone know……did the Pope bring it up at all while he visited the USA ?

            Now Charlie says that this Pope will rise to greatness. We will hope and pray for him.

            Liked by 3 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Yes, he did – several times. And he went and firmly and publicly expressed his solidarity with the Little Sisters of the Poor right close to his meeting with President Obama. In diplo-speak, this is a slap in the face. I appreciate your frustration, but I think it is because he did not speak in the way and at the venue you would have preferred, rather than that he did not speak of it at all. I will admit that my heart sank when I saw him sharing hearty laughs with the murderous thugs in Cuba and that Vatican personnel pointedly looked away as dissidents were rounded up by Cuban thugs right on his parade route. I trust and pray that he took their persecution seriously but, oh, how I wished he would have said something publicly – or at least skipped the backslapping photo ops with Raoul Castro.

            Liked by 6 people

      • ann says:

        Yes, Joseph 77 the silence from the Pope on these terrible things is deafening. He is very selective in his outrage. Troubling to say the least.

        Like

    • ann says:

      Yes Crew Dog, I too am old and cynical and fatalistic and this is a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t like it either, as a Roman Catholic or as an American. GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC & ALL HERE!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joe S says:

    From Father Z’s blog
    ” It was meaningless. Moreover, I am pretty sure that that anecdote about Paul VI giving permission to African nuns to use contraceptives is an urban legend. We had a discussion about that in the COL Forum, which I ran for a long time. One of the former staffers is now working to dig up the files on that. More later, I hope.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pat Murphy says:

    Your suggestion for sponsorship, etc. for new immigrants (legal) is exactly how it was done when I was a child in the 50s and 60s. It makes sense; we have never hated legal immigrants. I do object to today’s practice of giving them social security benefits if after 6 months they have not found work, though. The system is gamed at the expense of all the seniors who have contributed to social security all their lives and are now told we are “running out of money. “

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Katherine says:

    You know, there might actually be something useful to be gained from these off-the-cuff remarks: people might just be forced to look deeper; breaking this kind of knee-jerk reaction feelings-by-association logic that seems prevalent lately. For one thing, it might help some realize that the Pope isn’t a heretical lunatic nor is he absolutely right on everything under the sun. And that’s OK. Looking at these things can help actually build trust in God, the Church and the Pope. Secondly, I’m seeing a LOT of difficult issues being edited and streamlined into something like a bumper sticker slogan for one side or the other. It doesn’t get people to THINK. Dealing with the Pope’s remarks and the media will, hopefully, get some people thinking again. I, too, cringed when I read his remark about Trump, but it might spark some serious debate about the issue of immigration. Everyone is divided into two camps: let them in and keep them out. If we, as a nation, keep doing this to complex issues and refusing to think these things through we’re sunk! As a people we need to wake up and not become a population that is lead around by the nose through the clever use of hot-button issues, hot-button words and the subtle manipulation of emotions during or after a crisis. We need to think and become aware of the facts on our own and be responsible INDIVIDUALLY.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Frodo says:

    Hi Charlie. I couldn’t help but chime in on this post. I feel you are way
    off base in some of your assertions.

    I am disappointed at both your interpretation of the events above and also
    in the way you have treated some of the rebuttals in the comment sections
    – particularly Matthew’s. He has raised very good points which you have
    not addressed and which I would like to elaborate on.

    * Firstly, in the post above you have stated:

    “He could also have cited Pope Benedict VVI who in 2010 said the condoms
    could be licitly used in Africa to prevent the transmission of the AIDS
    virus”

    The problem is the pope never made such a comment (I’m actually shocked
    that you would assert that – knowing what high standards you have in
    reporting what is factually correct). In fact, the Vatican issued a
    statement shortly afterwards, approved by Benedict himself, which stated
    the opposite – that condom use by a prostitute for disease prevention
    could not be considered a “lesser evil” (which I would point out is in and
    of itself a far cry from licit) because prostitution is gravely immoral.
    See here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/europe/22pope.html?_r=0

    * Secondly, your post above states “One need not agree with Pope Francis
    to acknowledge his comments were neither unprecedented nor inconsistent
    with the remarks of two of his revered predecessors…”

    This is again simply not true. A pope has never said it was licit for
    contraception use in a marital relationship. Ever. I would ask you to
    produce a quote showing otherwise.

    * Lastly, I am rather surprised that you find the pope’s comments on
    Donald Trump “more worrisome.” We are discussing married people resorting
    to contraception, and the Pope’s personal opinion on a political candidate
    is more worrisome?

    This is not just another papal comment in a line of past papal comments about artificial contraception. If this really is to be seen as allowing artificial contraception inside of the marital relationship, then this is a clear break from past papal comments and not simply a “rattling of chains.” To state otherwise is shows a lack of fundamental principles of the morality involved in this discussion.

    God Bless

    Like

  8. Mack says:

    This is my opinion and I could be wrong, but I think that this comment of the pope’s will have a negative fallout, especially for non-Catholics and in particular for evangelicals in the US. Their biggest fear has always been that Rome would somehow dictate American policy (which is why many opposed Kennedy for president). These latest comments will only feed those fears and from what I’ve seen on just a few secular websites, many simply scorn Francis. I’m not saying that’s right but it is their reality. So it makes them less likely to listen to him when he does have something worthwhile to say as the Storm deepens. That’s too bad. So I think this may be the secular blunder Charlie has talked about previously, even though Charlie has also said he thinks that’s behind us. I’m not so sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia says:

      Mack,
      I agree with you. I was trying to say that in not quite such a neat way yesterday. It may well be the blunder Charlie was speaking of awhile back. Cruz was going to benefit from the Scalia death but now Trump will benefit from the Pope statement. Well, it is nothing if not boring!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Judy says:

        You know, if we are not going to have elections (as Charlie has said), it really does not matter which candidate may benefit. The real concern is why does this Pope keep making off-the-cuff remarks to the press that lead to confusion and upset? Now it is true that he is sometimes quoted out of context, but he should have learned from this by now , I believe.

        Like

    • Or there could be a bigger blunder yet to come. I have a different take. I think our non-Catholic brothers and sisters are not rejoicing over the Pope’ s mistakes. I think they are secretly terrified that the solid rock that the papacy has been will crumble. Fact is, the return of our prodigal world is beginning now as the Storm commences. Things are getting so bad that many are quietly thinking that maybe they should return to the father’s house. But here is a terrifying thought: what if father is not on the road searching for their coming? What if there is no ring for their finger and shoes for their feet? It’s fun to rebel when you know you can always go home. But what if you go home and find that the house is empty? Bombed out? Destroyed by the enemy? I think that this will be the cause of the final despair just before the rescue. The Church will appear…just appear, mind you…to be dead. There is no moral home to return to. The world is truly lost. But Our Lady, the Mother of this great home, will save her children and their home. God knows that we must see, feel, believe that we have squandered our last, best hope for a happy home in order to truly appreciate what we had. When we see Our Mother opening the door of our shattered house, in which she is setting all things to right again, the whole world will rush down that road in repentance and humbly ask to be allowed to make it their Home too. These sad things must come for the Church. But don’t worry; all will be well by and by.

      Liked by 7 people

      • Mack says:

        Very good point, Flowers, thank you! Yes, they just might be secretly afraid of that.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Lily says:

        As a newish Protestant, I’m not afraid the rock will crumble; I’m sure it has been more shaky in the past. The churches have all had issues from the beginning, but the I honestly don’t see the Pope’s ‘mistakes’ as a very big deal. I am coming to have more and more respect and appreciation for the Catholic Church and the Pope because of the Pope in these times (and the people on this blog). I think his words are mostly taken out of context, and for any other errors – well, who isn’t wrong about some things? Anyway, I am just so thankful that someone on the world stage is representing God, Jesus, Christianity, and goodness. He seems to be as genuine as a person can be. I don’t expect anything more than that. If anything, I see the insufficiency of the Protestants. I hope the good of both groups can be united, and whatever problems seen and corrected.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Mick says:

          Thanks for giving your perspective, Lily. By the way, when you say “newish Protestant,” do you mean that you are new to Protestant Christianity, or that you are a Protestant who is new to Charlie’s blog? Not that it matters which, but I just wanted to make sure I was understanding you correctly. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Believe it or not, I have very dedicated Protestant, Orthodox – and Jewish readers quietly following me, as well as the Catholics. It is a joy to me and I love all our readers, whether they comment or not.

            Liked by 3 people

  9. zeniazenia says:

    Good Morning! Here is the question and Holy Father’s answer, as well as a summary of the rest of the interview. http://www.news.va/en/news/interview-with-the-pope-on-his-return-flight-from

    –Question: “You spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigrants. On the other side of the border, however, there is a rather tough electoral campaign in progress. One of the candidates to the White House, the Republican Donald Trump, recently said in an interview that His Holiness is a man of politics or indeed even a pawn in the hands of the Mexican government to favour a policy of immigration. He has declared that, if elected, he intends to construct a 2,500 kilometre wall along the border between Mexico and the United States, and to deport eleven million illegal immigrants, thus separating families, and so on. I would like to ask, first of all, what you think of these accusations and whether an American Catholic can vote for such a person”.

    –Pope Francis: “I thank God that he has said I am a politician, as Aristotle defined the human being as an ‘animal politicus’: at least I am a human being! And that I am a pawn … perhaps, I do not know. I will leave that to your judgement, to the people. A person who thinks only of building walls, wherever that may be, and not bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. With regard to what I would advise, to vote or not to vote: I would not like to become involved. I would say only that this man is not Christian. It is necessary to see if he has said these things, and for this reason I would give the benefit of the doubt”. In my opinion, he was speaking figuratively. 🙂 (and making a mess) ha

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Father John says:

    Blessings of the Beloved in Lent!

    Thanks Charlie, some thoughts on the rattling:

    When Benedict spoke of the issue of condoms you reference, there was some issue with the accuracy of the reporter, and perhaps still is, from what I recall?? Also, from an article below, the case is made Benedict was not speaking about the condom use but heading in the direction of moral authenticity

    Here’s the link:
    http://catholicism.about.com/b/2010/11/23/pope-benedict-and-condoms-what-he-did-and-did-not-say.htm

    Here’s the thought:
    1. “Moralisation,” as Pope Benedict is using the term, refers to a possible result of a particular action, which does not say anything about the morality of the action itself.

    Here is more from the article and its context:

    What Pope Benedict Did Say
    In elaborating on his point about the “banalisation of sexuality,” Pope Benedict stated:
    There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility[emphasis added], on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.
    He followed that up immediately with a restatement of his earlier remarks:
    But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanisation of sexuality.

    The problem here is that very few commentators seem to understand two important points:
    2. The Church’s teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception is directed at married couples.
    3. “Moralisation,” as Pope Benedict is using the term, refers to a possible result of a particular action, which does not say anything about the morality of the action itself.

    These two points go hand-in-hand. When a prostitute (male or female) engages in fornication, the act is immoral. It is not made less immoral if he does not use artificial contraception during the act of fornication; nor is it made more immoral if he uses it. The Church’s teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception takes place entirely within the appropriate use of sexuality—that is, within the context of the marriage bed.

    On our dear Paul VI, I don’t know exactly what he may have said about the nuns in the Belgian Congo, but in Humanae Vitae, para 14, he Taught:

    Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)

    Let us pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and His Light!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Harry McCarthy says:

    My Goodness. If all of this wasn’t confusing enough…UGH.

    Like

  12. docallanw says:

    And Hilary as Evita without the charm cracked me up, too. We surely need deliverance from the cartoon US politics has become…

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Mary Ferrari says:

    The Catholic Catechism instructs the faithful that good government has two duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored. The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nations: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” Catholic Catechism, 2241.
    The second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right: “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Catholic Catechism, 2241……..I’m just speechless how many Catholics I saw on tv last night and only one who isn’t even Catholic brought up the whole conversation of what the Pope really said, not one defended him even knowing how the press butchers everything he says and none correctly knew what their Catechism actually says, including the Catholic candidates, one, Rubio, who said we better hope his faith informs his judgement. A straw man argument of attacks all night long about a wall….. for Trump, over the Pope, by Catholics. And these are the people who are supposed to defend the Constitution, how? They can’t even defend their own faith properly. And one famous talk show host can’t even figure out how the Pope has the authority to define Christianity for him because he reads the bible and his interpretation is slightly different and when the church stops ‘hiding pedophiles’ maybe they have the authority to define Christianity. Just stunned.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I am very disturbed that when I go to the Spanish version of news.va http://www.news.va/es/news/dialogo-del-papa-con-los-periodista-en-el-vuelo-de there is a woman’s voice overriding Pope Francis during his response. The translation is of what she said and differs from what he said – in particular, I can NOT make out him saying “He is not a Christian” – something more like “It is not a good Christian to say such things..”
    Why the News.va would not simply have the direct recording of what he said is beyond me and even at that, the original question was quite provocative – kind of “Do you know what he said about you?” Using the news media to carry on a conversation is fraught with pitfalls and I think we see ourselves in one. It is, in fact, a ploy of a gossip to bait his hearer into saying something that he can take back to the other and provoke a conflagration. I’ve seen that up close and personal.
    sigh.

    Liked by 7 people

    • El ingeniero de Tepeyac says:

      From the link”Papa Francisco:

      Gracias a Dios ha dicho que soy político, porque Aristóteles define a la persona humana como ‘animal politicus’. Yo por lo menos soy una persona humana ¿eh?… Y que soy una ‘ficha en un tablero’ un instrumento… quizá… no sé… lo dejo al juicio de ustedes, de la gente… Y, además, una persona que piensa solo en construir muros, sea donde sea, en no construir puentes… no es cristiana. Esto no está en el Evangelio. Sobre lo que se me pregunta, acerca de qué aconsejaría yo si votar o no votar: no me meto. Solamente digo: este hombre no es cristiano, si dice eso. Hay que ver si él ha dicho esas cosas ¿no? Y por ello concedo el beneficio de la duda.”

      What is written here is NOT what the English-speaking media has written. What is here in Spanish is what I would have expected Papa Francisco to have said.

      Solamente digo: este hombre no es cristiano, si dice eso.

      In English, “I only say this man is not Christian (acting in a Christ-like manner) if he says that.”

      Hay que ver si él ha dicho esas cosas ¿no? Y por ello concedo el beneficio de la duda.”

      In English, “One has to see if he has (really) said these things, no? and because of that I give (him) the benefit of the doubt.”

      Liked by 5 people

      • Well that’s enlightening!

        So it’s a mis-translation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judy says:

        i understand Spanish as well. ” …a person who only thinks about constructing walls, wherever it may be, and not in constructing bridges….he is not Christian. ……About the question of voting or not voting, I will not get involved. I only say: this man is not Christian, if he says that. One has to see if he has said these things, right? And for that reason, I give the benefit of the doubt.” …..However, the Pope is clearly against protecting borders and, thus, those who would choose to protect them.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          In fairness, Judy, the Pope did NOT say he was against protecting borders, so I don’t think it is clear at all. He said if that is your sole answer to the question, then you are failing. The Catechism recognizes the need to both defend borders and be open to immigrants of good will. I think it more nuanced than you allow for. You may reasonably suspect that is his attitude, but neither that (nor his statements yesterday) are clear proof of that suspicion.

          Like

  15. Blue Horizon says:

    Charlie, “avoiding pregnancy” is the term Pope Francis used rather than “contraception.”
    I think this is a significant difference. I am surprised with at this less than accurate presentation of the raw material which is not your usual style. Are you getting enough rest?
    Take care, Blue Horizon.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I know, Blue. I updated the piece to reflect what the actual transcript said after I had the transcript. I noted at the front of the article that I was relying on news reports, which are often unreliable pieces of spin. You apparently have not read today’s piece, where I acknowledge the rushed, slapdash nature of yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Ann Parks says:

        To be fair to Charlie, the Pope did speak at the same time of “avoiding pregnancy” as against the 6th commandment, and in the context of a supposed use of contraceptives by nuns. And of a conflict between two evils, with the lesser one perhaps the object of conscience or more. So he was speaking of contraception, because avoiding children through abstinence or NFP is not a problem. We don’t need to over parse the Pope in an effort to explain him nicely. Of, also, his press spokesman confirmed that he was speaking of contraception.

        Like

  16. GoneFIshin' says:

    Hopefully not plowing old ground but let’s just recap – Papal blunder(ing) (Check), North Korea rattling the cages of the world (Check), The Economic System collapsing (Check – three months ago the Fed raised interest rates for the first time in like a decade because the economy is doing well, and we better cool it down, and noted it would continue to raise interest rates through 2016, but NOW, the FED is already talking about possibly doing NEGATIVE interest rates; Obama said the ECONOMY of the US was great back at his January 2016 S.O.U. speech; Japan is reeling from monetary policy that is going haywire before our eyes, as their monetary actions did not cause things to move in the way it expected after going with Negative Interest Rates); Scalia dies in the night on a SW Texas ranch without his security detail; Hillary loses the popular vote by twenty percent or so – but TIES Bernie Sanders in delegate votes in New Hampshire; Hillary wins 7 or so coin tosses in a row in Iowa to assist her in breaking ties and to win the Iowa caucuses. . . (Systemic Collapse, developing….); Syria battle ground for World War (Sunni’s Versus Shia; Russia vs. The West in Syria); Muslims walk into Europe to take over what Blood of the European ancestors fought to protect…. Ummm, did I forget anything?

    Liked by 8 people

  17. Theresa Moore says:

    I think Pope Francis should just catch up on his sleep during his plane rides home! Save all the undue stress.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Sylvia says:

    Hi Charlie! So glad to be here. Thank you for accepting my friendship on FB. I would like to ask you about Cuba. It’s been over 50 years of communism in that country, will the government ever disintigrate? It’s been hell for so many under the Castro’s dictatorship. Will we Americans ever be able to see a free Cuba? So many American companies lost it all in 1959, will we ever have a chance to see major regime change?

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Ugh, sorry, you can delete that one.

    Like

  20. bsellers2015 says:

    I’be been wondering how to address the comtroversy created by the Pope’s recent remarks. After reading your article I no longer need wonder, I simply need to share. I could not have offered a more fair and honest yet respectful opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. El ingeniero de Tepeyac says:

    I think we Catholics are getting wrapped around the axle about something of little importance. These off-the-cuff remarks are a tempest in a teapot.

    If we are on the defensive then the satan is winning. How can we storm the gates of hell as a previous post put it if we are in defensive mode?

    Another previous post mentioned about Marian processions, Eucharistic processions – ways of taking the fight to the enemy.

    In my opinion it is more important that we do the next right step rather than hunkering down and apologizing for misinterpreted words.

    This war we are in, this storm we are weathering, is not about words but rather about souls. Each of us as a warrior/soldier for God need to focus on how best we can bring others to God by acknowledging God, doing the next right step, being a sign of hope for others. Each of us are participants – none of us are bystanders/onlookers.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Oh, I love your comment, Amen, Ingeniero!! God bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • the phoenix says:

      Exactly!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      I do not think the remarks are of little importance when made by the head of a Church.

      Like

      • Snowy Owl says:

        Judy, when I first heard what Pope Francis said, it was from my husband calling me from work to report this to me-gleefully, I might add…he is against the Church and wants very badly to prove that Catholics are wrong on everything and that the Pope is the anti-Christ…so it was a double whammy for me. I immediately went to a reliable catholic news site to make sure it wasn’t just the usual msm hype and when I saw there that it wasn’t just hype I thought- oh no…! the enemy loves when he(hubby) goes nuts against the Church and has what he views as irrefutable ammo..ugh!
        Now, after having a day to calm down, I feel badly for one reason. Pope Francis loves Jesus, His Church and all of us, I know this and I love him!
        I calmed down with the help of Charlie and everyone here and remember that God knows exactly what He is doing.
        Now, as for my husband, he came home, took one look at me and never said another word…possibly because I had a cast iron fry pan one hand and a Rosary in the other? 😉
        I say with Padre Pio “Pray, hope and don’t worry!” …..and wait.

        Liked by 5 people

        • charliej373 says:

          I don’t think St. Padre Pio actually ever used a frying pan…but I think he would understand.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Mick says:

          Well, Snowy, Padre Pio did say, “The Rosary is the weapon.” Maybe they didn’t have any cast-iron at his friary. 🙂

          Sorry; I know that’s not how you meant the “cast iron” thing, but I just couldn’t resist the nice fat pitch that you lobbed directly over home plate. 🙂

          I’m praying for your husband; sometimes the biggest, fiercest pit bulls become the biggest, most zealous assets to the Church (think St. Paul). Praying for you, too.

          Liked by 4 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Oh- but I think I did mean it 😉 he needed the effects of both a spiritual and earthly weapon to ponder and then decide to cork it with the anti-Catholic bashing … anyway, thank you for the prayers 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

        • Maybe we should have a rosary with cast iron beads to help us through the storm. LOL

          Liked by 3 people

          • prayingflower says:

            I saw a cast iron squirrel in an antique shop the other day. One could move his tail up and down which in turn moved his front paws (in praying position) up and down. I was tempted…but he was sooooo heavy! I thought of the TNRS family when I saw him, though. pf

            Liked by 5 people

          • Claire Reiss says:

            Do not remember the name of the Saint to whom Jesus appeared with a sword in His hand. Then Jesus gave the sword to the Saint, after the Saint received into his hands, the sword turned into a rosary. Imaging if every Catholic on the globes each says at least One full Mysteries of any one of the 4 mysteries daily, will we not be able to change the World by the Power of God through Mary? That was my message to my friends and the Pope. If His Holiness could leads the Catholics throughout the world we will change the Face of the world over night! There are over 1 billion Holy Roman Universal And Apostolic Church Members on the face of the earth right now! Yes, we can help to turn things around if our Pope will learn to live a Real spiritual life and stop laying in the sand box bongs to Caesar!

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            Claire, it’s interesting that you’ve actually described a recent vision of a Nigerian Bishop. That was so amazing. I agree it would be powerful if all Catholics would pray even one decade of the Rosary daily.

            I do NOT at all agree with your assessment: “…if our Pope will learn to live a Real spiritual life…” I see a very spiritual, holy man in our Pope Francis. He is one of my heroes. Even more sobering, he is the Vicar of Christ and deserves every ounce of respect we have within our hearts and souls as well as all our love and prayers we can offer him.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Haha! Michelle, now that just might work! A double whammy from the Heavenly side! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Claire, judging the state of and the spiritual life of a soul, any soul, especially the Holy Father, belongs to Jesus alone. I can’t even judge my own soul!

            Liked by 2 people

    • LukeMichael says:

      Yo tambien!

      The simple truth here is that the media is intent on distorting the truth, undermining the Church and dividing the Body of Christ!

      Prayers for everyone!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mary Ann Parks says:

      One reason that we might get understandably upset is because we see the effect of his supposed words on the consciences, choices, and souls of good people, especially the young. And we see them thrown back against us by our enemies, whom we also love and are sad to see more deeply in error, whether they are misunderstanding or not. The offense has been man to man and hard ever since 1966. We must play offense in a Christian way, yes, but we must not let our defense be passive. Good D keeps the wolf at bay while the Shepherd does his work.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. http://www.hli.org/2016/02/hli-statement-on-zika-and-birth-control/

    It seems the most recent clarification is adding fuel to the fire. Holy mess, indeed.

    Like

  23. Also, a person remarked today that Pope Feancis’ thinking precise is very South American. That it’s circular and leaves no stone unturned, whereas in the US we’re not taught to think this way.

    I don’t know if this is true or not, but to read his answers with this in mind might add some clarity.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Maryj says:

    I am exhausted…I took a trip with my daughter yesterday,her wedding dress was ready to be picked up. We left my home at 7a.m. and drove for 4 hours to the bridal shop, fittings done, dress paid for, a light lunch and back into the car for another 4 hour drive home…I am exhausted this morning. If anyone in this house were to ask me to make an important decision right now, the answer they would get would most likely not be very well thought out and probably answered with not the kindest of tone. Our Holy Father is 79 years old, has one lung, and sciatic issues. He has traveled, he has been on the go non stop for a week, he has smiled, and spoken from the heart. He has been grabbed and pulled, he has touched and been touched..he has got to be exhausted. We see what happened with Charlie, same thing, tired and hurting but still being called to be a shepherd, still called to try and help others answer their questions. Let’s cut each other a little slack shall we! My guess would be that the Pope is sorry for misspeaking, and very well may offer an apology…how about we give him that chance. Let us be merciful as our Father is merciful….I need coffee.

    Liked by 9 people

  25. Robert Cunningham says:

    In all things humility first. Patience, kindness and ten moments of prayer for every one moment speaking.

    Robert

    Liked by 3 people

  26. zeniazenia says:

    “Did St. Thérèse of Lisieux Send Roses to Pope Francis in Mexico? By CNA/EWTN NEWS |
    MEXICO CITY — When Pope Francis made a surprise stop at a cloistered monastery Sunday morning, he received a gift from the nuns who live there: a large bouquet of white roses. But was there more to this gesture than meets the eye?’ St. Thérèse of Lisieux –pray for us.
    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/did-st.-therese-of-lisieux-send-roses-to-pope-francis-in-mexico/#ixzz40jNg9fkG

    Liked by 4 people

  27. The shepherd gets struck and the sheep scatter. I’ve lost count of how many times folks have gotten rattled, dislodged, knocked down, or even have fled by something the Pope has apparently said.

    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    I think that certain sources are also violating another commandment in the process: “You shall not murder,” because they are murdering a reputation as well and the rest of the family is clearly affected. As a result, ‘murders’ (and I refer to ‘murders’ of souls) are sometimes committed there too.

    Why do they do it? Well, some folks obviously just outright hate, and like their father they hate what is good. Some are greedy, because they imagine some sort of gain from calumniating The Church, the Pope and Christians in general. Most just fear, I think, because deep down they know that how they choose to live is not licit and they desperately want to make a case otherwise. Of course this comes at the expense of the little ones. The innocent are always blamed by the guilty for the very evil they perpetrate themselves. Think of how twisted the abortion issue has become.

    Be frank. Say yes if you mean yes, and no if you mean no.

    Be sincere. How little we all really know, and I think it’s a very prudent thing to embrace sincerity from that angle from the outset.

    Be simple. God is simple.

    Do we want to be a sign of hope? Then please don’t get rattled by these attacks. We can cling to The Truth and strive to be truthful in all moments of our own lives. Then, even if someone tries to bear false witness, twists, deceives, etc., we will have Our Father to come to our speedy aid and give them the lie.

    “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.” — Proverbs 5:21-23

    “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in a community.” — Proverbs 6:16-19

    “The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot.” — Proverbs 10:7

    “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” — Proverbs 10:12

    “The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.” — Proverbs 10:30

    “The righteous person is rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead.” — Proverbs 11:8

    “Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.” — Proverbs 14:33

    I also run the risk of getting knocked down, dislodged, or merely rattled by the Pope’s words every time it’s at issue, but maybe none of those things have happened thus far because it’s taking all my focus and energy to try to keep on (often get back on) the path of Truth, make some headway, and be a sign of hope with all God’s help. And frankly, I just don’t need another rock jumping up in the path and snagging my boot. The last time that happened (on the way to Sunrise Peak), I spent way too much energy trying to rip that rock up and toss it down the side of the mountain… and nearly didn’t make the peak because of that misguided reaction.

    All that said, I really appreciate the important work of Charlie (and others) here to bring calm and clarity with precision. What a blessing to have someone with Charlie’s unique background (news editor, talk radio, politics, etc… to say nothing of his mystical training). What a blessing to have Bishops, Priests and many Religious here, so we don’t muck it up too badly when we try to practice our calling as well.

    If we’re going to make this climb, though, I think many of us have really got to start focusing on picking our boots up and planting them deliberately (where we’re at), one at a time. Rest. Take in the surroundings and get your bearings when necessary, but let’s make the climb as we’re called to do, without diversion.

    I’m perfectly content practicing climbing intervals somewhere near base camp and far, far short of the summit. Honestly, I need the practice and training, but I’m heartened by the other ‘big kids’ with me, and inspired by the heroes way up trail. I’m also really heartened by the exodus of folks starting to make the climb, and they look like heroes to me as well. As for the rest, I’ve tuned out the distractions. Let them bellow from the bottom of gaping crevices. The summit awaits.

    [sigh.] Honestly, I would rather just share a heartfelt story from one of my wilderness treks, but had a few pointed thoughts sitting in my head this morning that I wanted to share. I’m heading out later to the wilderness though, so who knows.

    God Bless,

    MP

    Liked by 9 people

  28. Mary Ann Parks says:

    I can’t find the comment now, Charlie, but I didn’t mean to say that the logo was Satanic at all. It is just occultic (third eye) and homoerotic. Besides ugly. I don’t see how it could be interpreted as the Father and the Son at all.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Oh no…you obviously did not say or mean that, Mary Ann, and I never thought you did. Someone in an earlier comment with a link suggested it was satanic. As far as the artistic merit of it and some of the fractured symbolism in it, I am completely with you.

      Like

  29. Randy131 says:

    I’ve read all your latest comments of how we should give the reverence to Pope Francis that some are denying him…lengthy comment deleted.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Randy, I think you are sincere and read through your entire comment. A little bit was sound, a lot was just flat wrong on the facts, and some of it took random things, attributed them to the wrong place, some was just repetition of media slanders, and some had a kernel of truth that was badly deformed and misinterpreted.

      We do take seriously an obligation to get the basic facts right here. To engage in commentary is not to merely engage in defamation. I would like to welcome you here. But here, while people are entitled to their opinions, no one is entitled to make up their own facts. I suspect you got much of yours from defamatory sites, but you do have an obligation to do some basic fact-checking. Please remember that reflexive cynicism is every bit as mindless as reflexive credulity – and much more toxic.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Randy131 says:

        Thank you for your response, but I was really wanting a response on my first comment on this subject.

        Ah, am learning how this works. All the facts that I’ve used have been published many times on several internet and other news agencies over the years, if you know of any that are incorrect, which when I checked were not, please let me know so that I can stop using them after rechecking their authenticity and correctness.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          I appreciate that it takes some time, and often, a lot of effort to vet stuff you see on the internet – and that a lot of pejorative advocates are masquerading as internet news sites these days. But if you don’t take that time, you will believe a lot of overheated nonsense. On Thursday, I did something I rarely do. I rushed a column to print on something the Pope was supposed to have said before I had access to actual transcripts. I don’t regret that as a firestorm had erupted…but it did have some bad consequences, as I got some things wrong. It does not matter that I did so by citing some media accounts. People here rely on me to get my facts right whether they agree with my interpretation of them or not. It was worth going to print before getting it fully vetted that time, as the need was urgent – but If it became a frequent occurrence, people would rightly cease to read me.

          Now, I won’t go through your piece and correct the flurry of errors. A good 90% of it is erroneous or fractured interpretation. Were I to start doing that, I would have time for little else. Most such pieces I just delete and move on with. In yours, despite its multitude of errors, I sensed that you are sincere, though too eager to believe nasty spins. The better way – and one that will help you develop both discipline and steadiness, is for you to go back and find specific citations for your assertions, then vet those citations for accuracy by looking up source documents and transcripts. Yes, it may take a week or better, but you will come out of it with a better sense of how to make sense of complex situations by vetting facts rather than just repeating random assertions.

          Liked by 1 person

  30. Randy131 says:

    I wonder if Charlie reads all these, and how many he answers?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I have someone who quietly clears a few comments every once in a while, but I handle most of it myself. There are over 50,000 comments here now. Most do not need answers. Those that do, I generally answer. Keeps me hopping.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Randy131 says:

        Thank you for your response, but I was really wanting a response on my first comment on this subject.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          I have responded to that. It was so filled with inaccuracies, historical fallacies, and overheated suspicions that I could not answer it directly. Please go back to the drawing board and study some actual history and source documents before launching such an outpouring. If you boil down to what your main points are while carefully vetting any facts you cite so as to make sure they are accurate, rather than just defamatory, I will take another crack at it.

          Like

  31. Trump appears as the polar opposite of St. Peter – and pretty much any other saint I can recall; everyone of whom acknowledged their own misery while proclaiming reliance on God’s Mercy. It’s interesting that the word for Mercy in Latin, Misericordia, includes the Latin word for misery or wretchedness. So “Misericordia” means that our misery meets Divine Mercy; thankfully this is no match.

    At least publicly, Donald Trump seems to have almost no concept or understanding of either his own misery or God’s Mercy. The first time I had serious misgivings about him was back in July of 2015 when he said he has no need to ask God for forgiveness, which can be read about here: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-on-god-i-dont-like-to-have-to-ask-for-forgiveness-2016-1 and watched here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/politics/trump-has-never-sought-forgiveness/

    With atheists, moral relativists and outright enemies to both Christ and the Constitution on one side and a self-proclaimed and self-righteous Christian patriot leading on the other, I believe we are literally witnessing the process by which God is showing the Church and world that we (the U.S.) are truly between a rock and a hard-place, with no way out but Divine Mercy.

    The fact that Donald Trump is winning the Evangelical vote demonstrates for me that our nation is worse off than imagined. I think the continuing success of Donald Trump – and even the reactions against him from so-called true Conservatives and the Establishment – is actually the blooming of the little-known heresy called “Americanism” (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/americanism-phantom-heresy-or-fact/)- condemned in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII (Testem Benevolentiae). What are the fruits of Americanism?

    “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Catholics and their
    fellow Americans now in moral outlook or religious practice. We
    fornicate at the same rate. We divorce at the same rate. We abort our
    children at the same rate. We are materially rich and so, in true
    chauvinistic fashion, we claim favored-nation status before the
    Lord.”

    Without knowing the name of this heresy an apparent growing majority of evangelicals, other protestants and Catholics for that matter now seem willing to look past just about everything that really matters in order “Make American Great Again” through Donald Trump. The old saying “pride comes before the fall” comes to mind.

    All the misery we have as humans is based in pride and the only remedy is the Mercy of God … which can only be received through its opposite: humility. Through his own words it appears that Donald Trump believes this doesn’t apply to him but the darker picture is that all the support he is receiving in the face of such pride could be the sad reflection of millions of other Americans who are refusing to acknowledge their own sinfulness.

    If that is true, in order to show His infinite Mercy as the only remedy to our profound misery, God is simply withdrawing His Presence for a time so that we will experience the naturally terrible consequences of the refusal to repent. And if the Catholic prophecies displayed at MercyRadio.com are accurate and point to this present moment, from all appearances, it will be truly terrible in the months ahead.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have Mercy on me … a sinner.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      In public talks in Europe on his seminal work, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville often said that, “America is not good because she is great; she is great because she is good. When she ceases to be good, she shall cease to be great.” He said it often enough in his public discussions that some started saying it was in the books. It is not, but it became one of his favorite ways of summarizing his work.

      America is not great any more – and she will not be until she is good once again. Politics and politicians won’t change that. It is up to all of us turning back to God.

      Liked by 6 people

  32. Jorge Bizarro says:

    Dear Charlie
    I’m a trained doctor, specialized in Medical Entomology, live in Brazil and ever since the start of this entire zika ‘scam’ I didn’t buy out the official version. I have further dug the issue and I didn’t find a single paper, WHO document of else BEFORE 2015, ever associating Zika virus to Microcephaly… period. Mexican doctors and some Brazilian experts think the true cause was mandatory MSR (this one has attenuated rubella viruses, which is known to cause microcephaly).and PTD vaccines. AT least in Brazil that seems to have been the case. (see note under). For some reason Governments and the MSM are kind of covering-up or promoting Zika fear.

    I feel sorry for the Pope, who was entangled in a very, very fishy issue for ‘free’
    There is no way of Zika virus
    – being transmitted in the dry season of North East Brazil or cold areas of Mexico (Aedes mosquito not surviving with averages around 15C)
    – a virus that has never been clinically associated with microcephaly can’t change its pathogenic action overnight like that..unless, unless… it was ‘GMOed’. ZIka has never been scientifically associated with this fetal syndrome and it is a shame that the Vatican Academy of Sciences didn’t dug this sufficiently. With two clicks they would have found in Pub Med online that the search for ‘Zika+ microcephaly returns ZERO papers.BEFORE 2015!!! – That speaks a LOT!

    Note: for those interested, here is the file complaint of a PhD Brazilian Doctor to the Brazilian Public Ministry (in Portuguese):
    https://blogkatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/causa-da-microcefalia-nao-e-zika-virus-pode-ser-as-vacinas-em-gestantes-diz-estudo/

    Liked by 4 people

  33. zeniazenia says:

    This is some good points from Jimmy Akin and Janet Smith regarding the comment Holy Father Francis made regarding the ethics of using the pill as a defense for rape. —

    What happened regarding Paul VI and nuns in Africa? Jimmy Akin blog 2/19/2016
    “Although I have not been able to locate primary sources, many secondary sources have—for years—claimed that Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) gave permission for nuns in the Belgian Congo to use oral contraceptives as a way of preventing pregnancy due to rape. Between 1960 and 1965, the Congo was a war-torn region in which many atrocities like rape were committed. Reportedly, nuns there petitioned the Holy See for permission to use oral contraception to prevent becoming pregnant as a result of the rapes being committed in the destabilized environment. The Holy See reportedly said that they could, and this is often attributed to Paul VI himself, though without primary sources, this claim has to be regarded with some caution (particularly given the press’s tendency to attribute anything anyone in Rome says directly to the pope). If permission was given, it was probably by a document issued by one of the Vatican dicasteries (departments), though Paul VI may (or may not) have approved it. This would have been before Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which dealt with contraception, but the permission is not necessarily inconsistent with the teaching of the encyclical. Quoting Humanae Vitae, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “[E]very action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370). A key word is “conjugal” (Latin, coniugale). This is an unfamiliar word to many English-speakers, who often take it to mean “sexual.” However, conjugal does not mean “sexual.” There is a different word for that in Latin (sexuale). “Conjugal” means “married.” Even in English. It comes from the Latin word conjux, which means “spouse” (a person with whom one is yoked-together). Thus the Catechism deals with contraception under the headings of “The Love of Husband and Wife” and “The Fecundity of Marriage.” Note how, in the relevant sections, it consistently speaks in terms of “married couples,” “spouses,” and how contraception violates “the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife” (CCC 2370). Understood in this light, what Humanae Vitae condemns is “every action which, whether in anticipation of marital intercourse [Latin, coniugale commercium], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible.” (Note: Some translations of Humanae Vitae inaccurately translate coniugale commercium with things like “sexual intercourse.” Accurate translations would be “marital congress,” “marital intercourse,” or “the conjugal act”—as in the Catechism. The inaccuracy of some English translations of Humanae Vitae is an illustration of why it is always a good idea to check the original language.) Since nuns are celibates and so are not married (except in a mystical sense to Christ), there is no marital act between them and anyone trying to rape them. Thus many Catholic moral theologians, including conservative ones, have seen the use of contraception by nuns as a potentially legitimate defense against the consequences of an act of violence rather than an attempt to thwart the natural consequences of the “marital act.”’
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Nuns in the Congo Janet Smith 2/20/2016 taken from Contraception, Congo Nuns, Choosing the Lesser Evil, and Conflict of Commandments
    “It also confuses many that the officials of the Church many decades ago permitted nuns in the Congo who were in danger of being raped to take hormones that prevent ovulation (which is what the “pill” does). In this case the hormones would be taken with the intent of avoiding a pregnancy, but not a pregnancy that would be the result of a spousal act of sexual intercourse. They would not be altering the purpose of a spousal act of sexual intercourse. Rather, they would be defending themselves against the possible consequences of an act of rape. Keep in mind that it is justifiable for a woman to inflict great physical harm, even death, on a man threatening rape. Her act of killing the rapist is not justified as a “lesser evil” because killing is not a lesser evil than enduring rape. Rather, her act is an act of just and moral self-defense. Thus, for a woman to do something to prevent a rapist’s sperm from uniting with her ovum is a part of justifiable self-defense. Her act has nothing to do with violating God’s plan for sexuality. She is not choosing to use contraception to prevent a spousal act of sexual intercourse from achieving its natural end. She is not refusing to make a complete gift of herself to her spouse. She is fending off a rapist and all his physicality. Clearly, her use of ovulation-suppressing hormones is not an act of contraception. (A good source for information about the history/reasoning concerning the nuns in the Congo is Fr. Edward Bayer’s Rape Within Marriage (1985), pp. 82-3)”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kim sevier says:

      Thanks for this post, Zenia. This makes me wonder – is contraception outside of marriage a sin? The marital act outside of marriage is a sin, but is artificial contraception (other than abortifacient contraception like the pill other IUD) also a sin since it is not occurring within a marriage?

      Like

  34. zeniazenia says:

    Good morning, Dzień dobry! Clearly putting an elaborate bow of faith on his, ‘I would say only that this man is not Christian.’ teaching, Holy Father Francis said “too many Christians are fake” .”… (their is a) “difference between the mere saying and real doing” D). (Vatican Radio) “Pope Francis on Tuesday morning described Christianity as a religion that by its very nature must act for good, not a “religion of saying” made of hypocrisy and vanity. The Holy Father was speaking at Mass in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. “Pope Francis went on to make explicit mention of the lines from Matthew’s Gospel, which foretell of the Last Judgment, when God will call men to account for what they have done to the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, strangers. “This,” said the Holy Father, “is the Christian life: mere talk leads to vanity, to that empty pretense of being Christian – but no, that way ONE IS NOT a Christian at all.”: “May the Lord give us this wisdom to understand well where lies the difference between saying and doing, and teach us the way of doing and help us to go down that way, because the way of saying brings us to the place where were these teachers of the law, these clerics, who liked dressing up and acting just like if they were so many Majesties – and this is not the reality of the Gospel. May the Lord teach us this way.” 🙂 Amen. St. John Theristus — pray for us http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/02/23/pope_francis_god_is_real,_too_many_christians_are_fake/1210574

    Liked by 1 person

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