Therefore, heresy is so-called from the Greek word meaning choice, by which each chooses according to his own will what he pleases to teach or believe. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not themselves of their own will choose what they would believe, but faithfully transmitted to the nations the teaching received from Jesus Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema. – Bishop Saint Isidore of Seville, Spain
The letter below was written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria (296 AD – d. 2 May 373) to the early Christians of the 4th century who refused to accept the Arian heresy, Christians who had lost their Church buildings to the heretics, but Christians who kept the faith.
“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises — but you have the apostolic faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the faith? The true faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle — the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the faith?
True, the premises are good when the apostolic faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …
You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the faith which has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and if an execrable jealously has tried to shake it in a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis.
No one, ever, will prevail against your faith, beloved brothers, and we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.
Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church but in reality they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.
Even if Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”
(Coll. Selecta SS. Eccl. Patrum. Caillu and Guillou, Vol. 32, pp 411-412)
¶ For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. – Gal:1:10
The great temptation for a Catholic, whether layman or churchman, is to allow himself to be attracted by the world and wish to become part of it, being accepted and admired.
We are not talking about the physical world created by God, which, like everything else He created, is very good. The world here is a moral entity opposed to God: “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1Jn:2:16)
Thus, to give in to the temptation of the world is to cave in to the triple concupiscence, to adopt worldly wisdom and flee from the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which the world sees as “foolishness.”
The Impossible Quest of Catholic Liberals
Our Lord does not pray for this world, for it refused His light. Hence “the whole world is under the power of the evil one,” under Satan, “the prince of this world.”
Now then, “what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever,” the one who “loved darkness rather than the light”?
Therefore, it is impossible, as liberal Catholics claim, to remain Catholic while being admired by the world; and to have the consolation of the Faith along with the pomp and honors of the world.
“If the World Hates You”
Our Lord himself explained the reason for this impossibility as He warned the apostles:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘The servant is not greater than his master.’”
Thus, to wish to be part of the world is to stray from the right path and drive away from the truth; for only Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” It is to fall under the domination of the one who “is a liar and the father of lies.”
The Christian is called “into the world, to testify to the truth” not only through a flawless life but by fighting error and evil.
It is to lose the peace of Christ: “my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
Confront the World and Combat its Malice
That does not mean that a Catholic must only flee from the world without fighting its malice: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
Instead, like his Savior, the Christian is called “into the world, to testify to the truth.”
This testimony must be given not only through a flawless life but by fighting error and evil.
That is why the Savior said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.”
” For the word of God is living and effectual and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow: and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb:4:12)
The Voice of the World and the Voice of Christ
“There is no truth” in the prince of this world. “When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
He not only employs direct lie, as when he seduced Eve, but also ambiguity and deceitful words: “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.”
The world accepts lies and ambiguity because “the whole world is under the power of the evil one.”
But those who belong to Christ do not allow themselves to be deceived: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Since He is the Incarnate Truth, his words are clear, tender toward the good and the repentant sinners, severe and even terrible to those hardened in evil: “You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires.”
The World in its Present Form Is Passing Away
Let us therefore not allow ourselves to be carried away by this world’s deceitful appearance. Its joy is false; it is “sorrow [that] produces death.” “For the world in its present form is passing away.” Eternity is the only thing that really counts, as “our citizenship is in heaven.”
Let us raise our eyes to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and to her Divine Son. “I have conquered the world” He said, and He will give us the necessary strength to resist the snares and attractions of the world.
The world enslaves and takes away “the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” Only the truth liberates, whereas lie and sin enslave.
In this tragic situation we are going through, in which vice is glorified and virtue oppressed, lie and ambiguity have free rein while truth and the evangelical language of “yea, yea: no, no” are despised, let us ask the One Who said “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world,” that He give us the necessary strength to resist the snares and attractions of the world.
Let us not be as the liberal Catholics that want to serve God and the prince of this world: because “’No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The youth world, he said, has changed “radically,” but the church “is still offering what it has been offering for the past 500 years.”
The Vatican’s culture ministry warned Thursday that the Catholic church risks losing future generations if it doesn’t learn how to understand young people, their language and their culture.
The Pontifical Council for Culture invited sociologists, Web experts and theologians to a three-day, closed-door event Feb. 6-9 aimed at studying “emerging youth cultures.”
According to a working paper released ahead of the meeting, the church risks “offering answers to questions that are not there” if it doesn’t learn “the cultural reality of young people.”
A study released in October by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life showed that young people are increasingly disconnected from religion, with one in three Americans aged 18-29 describing themselves as religiously unaffiliated.
Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca, undersecretary of the Vatican’s culture department, said in an interview that the church’s youth problem is not just “quantitative” — evidenced by a decline in key indicators, such as baptisms and church attendance — but also “qualitative.”
The youth world, he said, has changed “radically,” but the church “is still offering what it has been offering for the past 500 years.”
“We keep on giving the same answers but the way questions are posed is now totally different.”
Even if youth culture is often marked by individualism, superficiality and hedonism, the council’s president, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, said during a Thursday press conference that its “diversity” is “not only negative” but “contains surprising seeds of fruitfulness and authenticity.”
In his effort to understand young people’s language and feelings, Ravasi confessed to listening to a CD by the late British pop singer Amy Winehouse, noting that “a quest for meaning emerges even from her distraught music and lyrics.”
In a first for a Vatican meeting, the event will be opened by a rock concert by Italian Christian rock band The Sun.
Participants, mostly bishops and Catholic lay leaders, will also hear from young Catholic activists from countries such as Indonesia and Madagascar, while American blogger Pia de Solenni will speak on the “emotional alphabet” of young generations.
And my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2Chr:7:14
In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! If I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. ~Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908
Although he again lost Protestant voters to his GOP opponent, Obama held onto his advantages among Catholic and Jewish voters. He won 70 percent of the Jewish vote, down from 78 percent in 2008, and he won Catholic voters 50 percent to 47 percent. Romney carried Protestant voters by a 13-point margin, 56 percent to 43 percent. (Source: Politico)
Thou shalt not give any of thy seed to be consecrated to the idol Moloch, nor defile the name of thy God. I am the Lord. Lv:18:21: 21
A Planned Parenthood affiliate’s newest president and CEO said in an official statement that she regards her work for the biggest abortion business in America to be a holy profession.
Melaney Linton, who will now oversee Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, is determined to further the Life-ending work of Planned Parenthood:
“I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with such a sacred duty…I pledge to do everything in my power to fight back against the ideological attacks on Planned Parenthood and women, so that no teen will ever say she didn’t know how she got pregnant, no one will ever be denied basic reproductive health care, and no woman will ever be forced to bear children she cannot adequately support.”
Starting March 1st, Linton will manage 13 abortion and abortion-referring centers in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, as well as the largest abortion mill in America, located in Houston, Texas.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast alone performed over 12,000 abortions in 2010 and banked over $17 million – 49 percent of which came from taxpayer dollars. Linton will succeed Peter Durkin, who earned over $200,000 in 2010 by performing this “sacred duty.”
Linton is mistaken when she calls her work “sacred.” There is nothing holy about extinguishing the lives of millions of unborn children as a way to line the company pocketbook. The new CEO vows to fight back against Life-affirming measures that have limited the abortion provider, because it cuts into the proceeds Planned Parenthood receives from every abortion committed.
Planned Parenthood, with their money-hungry abortion agenda, has lured women and young girls into their clinics with the promise of putting them first, but Planned Parenthood’s financial standing is all that matters to the abortion giant. The abortion business refuses to acknowledge the physical, mental, and emotional damage abortion causes, thus, abandoning women because they are no longer seen as a profit.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business is a multi-million dollar company which preys on women to drive up their bottom line. This government-sanctioned killing of children must be brought to an end. As members of the Pro-Life community, we are dedicated to ending the horror Linton and Planned Parenthood so fiercely defend. As long as Planned Parenthood remains devoted to ending innocent human life and committing these unjust moral atrocities, we are dedicated to severing the revenue stream that is responsible for the death of innocent unborn children.
First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven (both longtime members of the Democratic Socialists of America, where Piven today is an honorary chair), the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.
The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.
The authors noted that the number of Americans subsisting on welfare — about 8 million, at the time — probably represented less than half the number who were technically eligible for full benefits. They proposed a “massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls.” Cloward and Piven calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted, would be “a profound financial and political crisis” that would unleash “powerful forces … for major economic reform at the national level.”
Their article called for “cadres of aggressive organizers” to use “demonstrations to create a climate of militancy.” Intimidated by threats of black violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing journalists, would float the idea of “a federal program of income redistribution,” in the form of a guaranteed living income for all — working and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act.
This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements — mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown — providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.
Cloward and Piven recruited a militant black organizer named George Wiley to lead their new movement. In the summer of 1967, Wiley founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). His tactics closely followed the recommendations set out in Cloward and Piven’s article. His followers invaded welfare offices across the United States — often violently — bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law “entitled” them. By 1969, NWRO claimed a dues-paying membership of 22,500 families, with 523 chapters across the nation.
Regarding Wiley’s tactics, The New York Times commented on September 27, 1970, “There have been sit-ins in legislative chambers, including a United States Senate committee hearing, mass demonstrations of several thousand welfare recipients, school boycotts, picket lines, mounted police, tear gas, arrests – and, on occasion, rock-throwing, smashed glass doors, overturned desks, scattered papers and ripped-out phones.”These methods proved effective. “The flooding succeeded beyond Wiley’s wildest dreams,” writes Sol Stern in the City Journal. “From 1965 to 1974, the number of households on welfare soared from 4.3 million to 10.8 million, despite mostly flush economic times. By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City for every two working in the city’s private economy.”As a direct result of its massive welfare spending, New York City was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1975. The entire state of New York nearly went down with it. TheCloward-Piven strategy had proved its effectiveness.
The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York’s welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in “the end of welfare as we know it” — the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements.
Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. “This wasn’t an accident,” Giuliani charged in a July 20, 1998 speech. “It wasn’t an atmospheric thing, it wasn’t supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare.”
Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.
In 1982, partisans of the Cloward-Piven strategy founded a new “voting rights movement,” which purported to take up the unfinished work of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Like ACORN, the organization that spear-headed this campaign, the new “voting rights” movement was led by veterans of George Wiley’s welfare rights crusade. Its flagship organizations were Project Vote and Human SERVE, both founded in 1982. Project Vote is an ACORN front group, launched by former NWRO organizer and ACORN co-founder Zach Polett. Human SERVE was founded by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, along with a former NWRO organizer named Hulbert James.
All three of these organizations — ACORN, Project Vote and Human SERVE — set to work lobbying energetically for the so-called Motor-Voter law, which President Bill Clinton ultimately signed in 1993. The Motor-Voter bill is largely responsible for swamping the voter rolls with “dead wood” — invalid registrations signed in the name of deceased, ineligible or non-existent people — thus opening the door to the unprecedented levels of voter fraud and “voter disenfranchisement” claims that followed in subsequent elections. At the White House signing ceremony for the Motor-Voter bill, both Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were in attendance.
The new “voting rights” coalition combines mass voter registration drives — typically featuring high levels of fraud — with systematic intimidation of election officials in the form of frivolous lawsuits, unfounded charges of “racism” and “disenfranchisement,” and “direct action” (street protests, violent or otherwise). Just as they swamped America’s welfare offices in the 1960s, Cloward-Piven devotees now seek to overwhelm the nation’s understaffed and poorly policed electoral system. Their tactics set the stage for the Florida recount crisis of 2000, and have introduced a level of fear, tension and foreboding to U.S. elections previously encountered mainly in Third World countries.
In January 2010, journalist John Fund reported that Congressman Barney Frank and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer were preparing to unveil legislation calling for “universal voter registration,” whereby any person whose name was on any federal roll at all — be it a list of welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, unemployment compensation recipients, licensed drivers, convicted felons, property owners, etc. — would automatically be registered to vote in political elections. Without corresponding identity-verification measures at polling places, such a law would vastly expand the pool of eligible voters, thereby multiplying the opportunities for fraudulent voters to cast ballots under other people’s names.
Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend heavily on financial support from George Soros‘s Open Society Institute and his “Shadow Party,” through whose support the Cloward-Piven strategy continues to provide a blueprint for some of the Left’s most ambitious campaigns to overload, and cause the collapse of, various American institutions. Leftists such as Barack Obama euphemistically refer to this collapse as a “fundamental transformation,” on the theory that society can only be improved by destroying the deeply flawed existing order and replacing it with what they view as a better alternative.
Click here to read about more recent efforts by the Left to overload the American system.
Islamic mosques are being built more often in France than Roman Catholic churches, and there now are more practicing Muslims in the country than practicing Catholics.
Nearly 150 new mosques currently are under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe. The mosque-building projects are at various stages of completion, according to Mohammed Moussaoui, the president of the Muslim Council of France (CFCM), who provided the data in an August 2 interview with the French radio station RTL.
The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report “Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands.” France’s most prominent Muslim leader, Dalil Boubakeur, who is rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, recently called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again – to 4,000 – to meet growing demand.
By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.
Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France’s 65 million inhabitants) identifies itself as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of those actually are practicing Catholics, according to the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called).
By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million) of the estimated 6 million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France identify themselves as “believers” and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are “practicing” Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop on August 1. The report also says that more than 70% of the Muslims in France say they will be observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2011.
Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.
As their numbers grow, Muslims in France are becoming far more assertive than ever before. A case in point: Muslim groups in France are now asking the Roman Catholic Church for permission to use its empty churches as a way to solve the traffic problems caused by thousands of Muslims who pray in the streets.
In a March 11 communiqué addressed to the Church of France, the National Federation of the Great Mosque of Paris, the Council of Democratic Muslims of France and a Muslim activist group called Collectif Banlieues Respect called on the Catholic Church – in a spirit of inter-religious solidarity, of course – to make its empty churches available to Muslims for Friday prayers, so that Muslims do not have to “pray in the streets” and be “held hostage to politics.”
Every Friday, thousands of Muslims in Paris and other French cities close off streets and sidewalks (and by extension, close down local businesses and trap non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices) to accommodate overflowing crowds for midday prayers. Some mosques have also begun broadcasting sermons and chants of “Allah Akbar” via loudspeakers in the streets.
The weekly spectacles, which have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com ( here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.
The issue of illegal street prayers was catapulted to the top of the national political agenda in France in December 2010, when Marine Le Pen, the charismatic new leader of the far-right National Front party, denounced them as an “occupation without tanks or soldiers.”
During a gathering in the east central French city of Lyon on December 10, Le Pen compared Muslims praying in the streets to Nazi occupation. She said: “For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it is about occupation, then we could also talk about it [Muslim prayers in the streets], because that is occupation of territory. It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of districts in which religious laws apply. It is an occupation. There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents.”
Many French voters agree. In fact, the issue of Muslim street prayers – and the broader question of the role of Islam in French society – has become a major issue ahead of the 2012 presidential elections. According to a survey by Ifop for the France-Soir newspaper, nearly 40% of French voters agree with Len Pen’s views that Muslim prayer in the streets resembles an occupation. Another opinion poll published by Le Parisien newspaper shows that voters view Le Pen, who has criss-crossed the country arguing that France has been invaded by Muslims and betrayed by its elite, as the candidate best suited to deal with the growing problem of runaway Muslim immigration.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose popularity was at 25% in July – worse than any predecessor less than a year ahead of a re-election bid, according to the TNS-Sofres polling group – has been spooked by Le Pen’s advance in the opinion polls. He now seems determined not to allow Le Pen to monopolize the issue of Islam in France.
Sarkozy recently called Muslim prayers in the street “unacceptable” and said that the street cannot be allowed to become “an extension of the mosque.” He also warned that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.
Interior Minister Claude Guéant on August 8 told Muslims who have been praying on the streets of Paris that they should utilize a disused barracks instead. “Praying in the street is something that is not acceptable,” Guéant said. “It has to stop.”
Meanwhile, France ushered in Ramadan by inaugurating a new mega-mosque for 2,000 worshipers in Strasbourg, where the Muslim population has reached 15%. Construction also continues apace of a new mega-mosque in Marseille, France’s second-largest city where the Muslim population has reached 25% (or 250,000). The Grand Mosque – which at more than 8,300 square meters (92,000 square feet) will accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers in a vast prayer hall – is designed to be the biggest and most potent symbol of Islam’s place in modern France.
Boubakeur, of the Grande Mosque of Paris, says the construction of even more mosques – paid for by French taxpayers – would ease the “pressure, frustration and the sense of injustice” felt by many French Muslims. “Open a mosque and you close a prison,” says Boubakeur.
But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has implied that the construction of mosques and minarets actually is part of a strategy for the Islamization of Europe. Publicly repeating the words of a 1912 poem written by the Turkish nationalist poet Ziya Gökalp, Erdogan said: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”
Reflecting on the retreat of Catholicism and the rise of Islam in France, Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, an Italian Franciscan who heads the Izmir archdiocese in Turkey, and who has lived in the Islamic world for more than 40 years, has recounted a conversation he once had with a Muslim leader, who told him: “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”
From the November 2007 issue of Catholic Family News
By John Vennari
The Church of the Holy Trinity opened at Fatima on October 12, the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. It is a project conceived and completed by Shrine Rector Luciano Guerra, the man who permitted Hindus to worship at the Catholic altar at Fatima in 2004.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone presided over the building’s consecration, blessing the new church accompanied by an altar girl at his side who carried the holy water.
I traveled to Fatima to witness the event, and to take a good look at the new structure now open to the public. It is a stark monstrosity with no soul. I snapped many photos, a small portion of which are included in the photo report in this issue.
` In a certain sense, the place needs little commentary. Most who look on it recognize its gargantuan hideousness. The Catholic soul gazing on it is shaken to his inmost being, and whispers prayers of reparation that a building so grotesque could be presented to God and to the Catholic world as a church at the very spot sanctified by Our Lady’s visitations 90 years ago.
The new building is billed as the fourth largest church in the world, following behind the more Catholic structures of St. Peters in Rome, Our Lady of Aparecida Shrine in Brazil, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
The architecture is primarily functional and thus thoroughly modern. The main purpose in the building’s design is for easy movement of the large crowds that flock to Fatima each year. The building seats 9000 people, has a center wide enough for three SUVs to roll side-by-side down the main aisle, and has no columns so as not to obstruct live television broadcasts. As in movie theaters, the floor slopes down from back to front.
The round, windowless exterior looks more like a maximum security prison or a whale aquarium than anything remotely Catholic. The large concrete walls that run across the center and jut out from the back give the appearance of something from an outer-space film. The building could be called “Intergalactic Center for Peace among the Planets” with no questioned asked.
The building’s cavernous interior is stark and cold, the spiritual equivalent to a walk-in freezer. Apart from the large crucifix, grotesquely topped with a Neanderthal face of Our Lord, the building could pass for something from the United Nations. The absence of windows augments its ugliness.
Behind the crucifix is a large mosaic of “The Heavenly Jerusalem” composed of artwork that is modern but not as offensive as the rest of the building.
The Blessed Sacrament is kept in some far-off area that is either impossible to find or closed to the public. There is no sanctuary lamp. A priest of my acquaintance searched the hall for 15 minutes and never found a tabernacle. I asked another priest wandering around inside where is the tabernacle. “I have no idea” he said half-laughing at the absurdity of it all.
Then there’s the “Tall Cross” — a steel-monstrosity of a crucifix that soars 110 feet in the air next to the new temple. It looks as if it was made with melted steel girders.
The Shrine commissioned modern German artist Robert Schad to design the cross within the iconography of the new Church of the Holy Trinity. According to the August 30 Jornal de Notícias, Schad was selected because of his persistence with Rector Guerra and the support of the basilica’s architect, the Greek Orthodox Alexandros Tombazis.
Schad described his work of art thus: “It is a crucifix turned towards the 21st century, showing a heartfelt stylized Christ which pays tribute to all the world’s cultures… the simplicity of the work also has something sensual.”
Newspaper accounts of the building’s cost vary between 85 to 99 millions dollars. The church was supposed to open May 13 th, but numerous delays prevented its opening until October.
The ecumenical intent of the building appears obvious. Cardinal Saraiva Martins said on Portuguese television that the new basilica is Fatima for the 21st Century and a sign of inculturation, putting the Church right in the middle of modern culture.
Bishop Antonio Marto, the Bishop of Lierra-Fatima, said in mid-2006 that the new basilica at Fatima will not be an ecumenical temple, but qualified that the identity of Fatima allows space for universal and interreligious dialogue.
In other words, the church at Fatima will not be an interreligious shrine, but a Catholic shrine where ecumenical activity occasionally occurs.
The structure of the new building speaks the voice of ecumenism. The 1993 Directory for the Application of the Principle and Norms of Ecumenism, quoted many times in CFN, encourages numerous interreligious activities that have always been condemned by the Church as grave sins against the Faith.
One of the proposals in this Directory is to construct a single church to be owned and used by Catholics and non-Catholics [#138]. In these ecumenical churches, the Blessed Sacrament should be placed in a separate room so as not to offend the sensibilities of non-believers [#139]
Likewise, Cardinal Kasper’s newly-released booklet, Handbook for Spiritual Ecumenism, recommends various ways that the proposals of the Ecumenical Directory be put into practice.
The Cardinal makes special mention of how Marian shrines must become ecumenical: Pay due attention, in national and international sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to the presence and pastoral needs of those visitors who belong to other Churches and Ecclesial communities by making available appropriate prayers or meditations, along with the use of appropriate liturgical signs and symbols. (pp. 34-35).
The new basilica of Fatima seems to have followed the Ecumenical Directory in the absence of a public tabernacle or sanctuary lamp, and in keeping the Blessed Sacrament in a remote area impossible to find. There can be no doubt that the basilica would have been designed according to the ecumenical imperatives of Cardinal Kasper, since the Cardinal’s Handbook was result of proceedings from a 2003 Plenary Session at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The points in his booklet would be known to Church officials for many years.
Along the same lines, the Fourth European Conference of Directors of Pilgrimages and Rectors was held in September 2004 at the Marian Shrine in Kevelear, Germany. The conference was promoted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. The meeting’s purpose was to advance the practice of ecumenism in Catholics shrines and pilgrimages throughout Europe (see CFN, Sept, 2006).
Fatima Rector Luciano Guerra spoke at the Kevelear conference, which was attended by Catholics, Schismatic Orthodox, Anglicans and Evangelical Protestants. Here, Guerra boasted of his ecumenical endeavors at Fatima.
Every year for the last four years, said Guerra, we received the visit of a group of Anglican priests normally accompanied by a bishop. They stay several days in Fatima, taking part in some of the celebrations and even in the Eucharist, but without concelebrating or communicating [receiving communion]. The Shrine makes available to them the interior chapels of the lodging houses, so that they may celebrate their own rites. Already this year  the Anglican Archdeaconry of Gibraltar held its Synod in one of the lodging houses of the Shrine.
Rector Guerra, being thoroughly ecumenical, and no doubt being aware of Cardinal Kasper’s push to open Marian Shrines to the ecumenical dimension, would have designed the new church to serve the new interfaith orientation rather than the Catholic Faith of all time.
Thus it is clear the new basilica at Fatima is a monument to the diabolic disorientation of neo-modernism and ecumenism. This explains why there is nothing Catholic about its construction. This explains why there is nothing holy in its appearance. This explains why the average Catholic who still has the sensus fidei gapes at the building as something from another planet.
Even the poor Portuguese people are perplexed, despite their humble temperament to keep their misgivings to themselves. One woman I spoke with at Fatima told me she went around asking Portuguese pilgrims what they thought of the new building. Each of them replied with a shrug of the shoulders, hardly a 90-million-dollar response.
In these days we are accused of attacking science because we want it to be scientific. Surely there is not any undue disrespect to our doctor in saying that he is our doctor, not our priest, or our wife, or ourself. It is not the business of the doctor to say that we must go to a watering-place; it is his affair to say that certain results of health will follow if we do go to a watering-place. After that, obviously, it is for us to judge. Physical science is like simple addition: it is either infallible or it is false. To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value. G. K. Chesterton
One of the more pernicious follies of our time is the mixing of politics, science and religion. The Global Warming scam is a prime example of what a noxious brew can result from this. Among many of the elites in Western society, environmentalism has taken on all the aspects of a religion. The religious left has been eager to climb on to this new religion. Based upon very dubious science, and fired with the faith that has traditionally been given to religion, powerful forces throughout the West are eager to implement revolutionary changes in our society, most involving a radical expansion of government control over industry. Western civilization has made great strides by developing an intellectual atmosphere of relative freedom that has allowed science to flourish. Today science is often being debased by charlatans and zealots who use junk science as a tool to attempt to win policy debates. There is nothing new about politicians attempting to use dubious science to push their cherished nostrums. What is new is that such a large number of the elites in our society, (academics, politicians, entertainers, media, etc.) are participants in an intellectual groupthink that finds it next to impossible to tolerate, let alone listen to, dissenting viewpoints. What passes for the mainstream media today is a prime example of this type of bias. Thank heavens for a rambunctious new media: talk radio and the internet, where ideological conformity is impossible to enforce. That is all to the good, since some of the more deranged acolytes of the Global Warming religion appear to have a rather intolerant attitude towards heretics.
A documentary on the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council.
45 Years Ago Today
It was the most important event in the history of Christianity since the Reformation and the Council of Trent.
Forty-five years ago today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Basilica along with 2,300 bishops gathered from the entire world.
They had approved and signed Gaudium et Spes, the last of the major conciliar documents, the day before. The same day, the Pope had signed a decree making the year 1966 a special jubilee year, and he had joined the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I in formally expressing together for the first time their regret for the mutual excommunications pronounced by their predecessors, Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Cerularius, in 1054.
But the Council Fathers saved December 8, the day on which they wanted to place everything in Mary’s hands, for something even more special.
And so Paul VI, together with all the bishops assembled, solemnly invoked Mary under a new title: Mother of the Church. That had been one of the most surprising features of Lumen Gentium’s teaching on the Church: the concluding chapter discussed Mary as “Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church.” It had always seemed a little out of place theologically. Until now.
As he concluded his homily, the Pope drew out a little bit of the meaning of that:
While we close the ecumenical council, we are honoring Mary Most Holy, the mother of Christ, and consequently, as we declared on another occasion, the mother of God and our spiritual mother. We are honoring Mary Most Holy, the Immaculate One, therefore innocent, stupendous, perfect. She is the woman, the true woman who is both ideal and real, the creature in whom the image of God is reflected with absolute clarity, without any disturbance, as happens in every other human creature.
Is it not perhaps in directing our gaze on this woman who is our humble sister and at the same time our heavenly mother and queen, the spotless and sacred mirror of infinite beauty, that we can terminate the spiritual ascent of the council and our final greeting? Is it not here that our post-conciliar work can begin? Does not the beauty of Mary Immaculate become for us an inspiring model, a comforting hope?
Pope John Paul II had this icon of Mary, Mother of the Church, installed overlooking St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Just as Mary’s Immaculate Conception marked a new beginning for humanity, Paul and the assembled bishops hoped that the Council would be a new beginning for the Church’s engagement of culture.
Everyone knew that the story of the council’s work was really only beginning. To get a bit of the flavor of the time and its expectations, read this fascinating contemporary take on the Council’s closing from Life in 1965.
How prescient were the historians quoted who “ask 30 or 50 years before Vatican II can be evaluated, since its chief product was words. The effect of these words on mankind will depend largely on post-council decisions, especially by the Pope.”
And so Pope Benedict is now in a position to look back at all that has transpired and all that has been accomplished, and see the work of Mary’s hand:
“Presiding at a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica this morning, I wanted to give thanks to God for the gift of the Second Vatican Council. Furthermore, I wished to pay homage to Mary Most Holy for having accompanied these 40 years of the Church’s richly eventful life. In a special maternal way, Mary has kept watch over the Pontificates of my venerable Predecessors, each one of whom, with great pastoral wisdom, steered the boat of Peter on the course of authentic conciliar renewal, ceaselessly working for the faithful interpretation and implementation of Vatican Council II.” — December 8, 2005 (before reciting the Angelus)
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!