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Friday 10 February 2012

Assassination Plot of Pope Hits Press, but Is It True?

The past two weeks, I feel like we have been living in a chapter of Lord of the World, by Robert Hugh Benson. Now, to top off the attacks on the Catholic Church in America and Ireland, a leading cardinal has revealed a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI to the Vatican. An investigation may have occurred in the Vatican.

In today's Telegraph, Nick Squires scoops Cardinal Paolo Romeo's claims of an assassination plot. A believable source had led to a serious inquiry, at least on the part of the Telegraph. Note that:

The extraordinary comments were written up in a top-secret report, dated Dec 30, 2011, and delivered to the Pope by a senior cardinal, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a Colombian, in January.

Now, there is denial all around. But, Squire writes that: Cardinal Romeo also named Benedict's XVI likely successor as Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan – meaning the papacy would return to an Italian after the German Benedict and his Polish predecessor, John Paul II.
He allegedly told his contacts in China that Pope Benedict could not stand Tarcisio Bertone, his Secretary of State and the Vatican's second most senior figure, amid reports of bitter power struggles going on within the Holy See.
However, the Vatican is now denying such a report or investigation. 
The Vatican's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said the report was "so incredible that we cannot comment on it".

Zenit on the Boko Haram

I usually do not post this much (7th post today), but here is an interesting development. Zenit has a critical report on Boko Haram, mentioned on this blog before, the violent Islamist group, the name which translates, "Western Education is Evil". The fact that this media center from Rome is taking a lead in condemning such violence and drawing attention to the persecution of Catholics is a good. Here is the entire article.

EWTN Joins List of Lawsuits Against Administration

Catholic media network EWTN sued the federal government Feb. 9, challenging the Obama administration's rule requiring many religious ministries to subsidize contraception and sterilization in their health plans.
“We had no other option but to take this to the courts,” EWTN President and CEO Michael Warsaw said in an announcement about the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. “There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights.”
“Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice,” Warsaw explained. “Either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable.”

Catholic News Agency has reported and the above is part of the article found here

Things are heating up in the States, thank God.

LIfeSiteNews Article on Father Pavone and PFL Lawsuit against POTUS and Administration

Priests for Life sues Obama administration over contraception mandate

Ben JohnsonThu Feb 09 18:48 ESTAbortion
STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, February 9, 2012, ( - Despite the fact that his organization is named “Priests for Life” and its national director is an ordained clergyman, Fr. Frank Pavone says the pro-life Catholic group does not qualify for the Obama administration’s narrow definition of a religious organization. Thus, the organization would be forced to pay for all contraception, including abortfacient drugs, under Obama’s controversial birth control mandate.
This morning, the New York-based pro-life group filed suit against the Obama administration, saying the new mandate violates its First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit, filed in California court, seeks injunctive relief from the HHS rules.
Since Priests for Life is a private association registered as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation, it does not qualify for the Department of Health and Human Services religious exemption - which covers only churches and religious orders. A press release from the organization says it “therefore must comply with these conscience-violating mandates, decrees, and punitive measures.”
Priests for Life says it must begin implementing the contraceptive rule by this August. Religious institutions other than churches have until August 2013 to comply.
“We don’t need a year, nor do we need a moment, to determine what we are going to do, or to ‘adapt’ to the rule,” Fr. Pavone said. “The rule is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it.”
For legal assistance, the organization turned to Charles LiMandri, a San Diego-based civil rights lawyer who helped save California’s Mt. Soledad Cross monument from an ACLU lawsuit and was general counsel during the Proposition 8 campaign. “This is the first time in history any administration has used brute force to compel someone to violate his conscience or moral convictions,” LaMandri said. “It’s also antithetical to the core American principles of religious liberty and freedom from invasions of privacy.”
The plaintiff is ready to see the case go all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
Despite media chatter about how the mandate will play in the 2012 election, Fr. Pavone said the issue can no longer be seen as “just a partisan political football.”
“It’s unthinkable that President Obama would force Americans of any faith to violate their consciences.” he said. “Yet here he is, arrogantly imposing these regulations that clearly discriminate against Catholics and all Christians, as well as people of any faith who believe in the sanctity of innocent human life. This has clearly become a human rights case.”
Fr. Frank Pavone added, “Religious freedom is not a right just of religious groups; it’s a right of every American.”

On Liberty of Conscience by Pope Leo XIII--June 20, 1888

Here is a quotation from the great Pope Leo XIII from his work On the Nature of Human Liberty, Libertas Praestantissimum. This work applies to the argument for religious freedom of conscience going on in the States. If this question is not resolved in favor of the protection of religion by the Constitution, the entire Western World is in danger, not just America. The time for action, prayer and fasting is now. If Catholics do not respond to the seriousness of this threat, we shall face further persecution. The impetus for change gathers support against the Church, as those fallen away Catholics and those who disagree with the Church, undermine freedom.

Another liberty is widely advocated, namely, liberty of conscience. If by this is meant that everyone may, as he chooses, worship God or not, it is sufficiently refuted by the arguments already adduced. But it may also be taken to mean that every man in the State may follow the will of God and, from a consciousness of duty and free from every obstacle, obey His commands. This, indeed, is true liberty, a liberty worthy of the sons of God, which nobly maintains the dignity of man and is stronger than all violence or wrong -- a liberty which the Church has always desired and held most dear. This is the kind of liberty the Apostles claimed for themselves with intrepid constancy, which the apologists of Christianity confirmed by their writings, and which the martyrs in vast numbers consecrated by their blood. And deservedly so; for this Christian liberty bears witness to the absolute and most just dominion of God over man, and to the chief and supreme duty of man toward God. It has nothing in common with a seditious and rebellious mind; and in no tittle derogates from obedience to public authority; for the right to command and to require obedience exists only so far as it is in accordance with the authority of God, and is within the measure that He has laid down. But when anything is commanded which is plainly at variance with the will of God, there is a wide departure from this Divinely constituted order, and at the same time a direct conflict with Divine authority; therefore, it is right not to obey.


Thoughts on a New Knighthood --an apt quotation from Archbishop Chaput

Guarantees of religious freedom are only as strong as the social consensus that supports them.
Americans have always taken their religious freedom for granted. Religious faith has always played a major role in our public life, including debate about public policy and law. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution explicitly guarantees this freedom. But that guarantee and its application are subject to lawmakers and the interpretation of courts. And lawmakers and courts increasingly attack religious liberty, undermine rights of conscience, and force references to God out of our public square. This shift in our culture is made worse by mass media that, in general, have little understanding of religious faith and are often openly hostile. As religious practice softens in the United States over the next few decades, the consensus for religious freedom may easily decline. And that has very big implications for the life of faithful Catholics in this country.
Entire address may be found here.
By Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver, Colorado, USA
An address delivered on 25 October 2010 to Catholic Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado

St. Scholastica and the Gift of Spiritual Conversation: for Chris, Carole, Edmund, David, Bill, Bernie, Zach, William...

Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.  Philippians 2:2-4  Terce  modern version

Today is the Feast Day of St. Scholastica. I am reminded that she called down the storm to keep her brother at her monastery so she could talk with him of God. God answered her prayer because she loved. Her trust in God seemed to have superseded that of her famous brother, St. Benedict  who later saw her soul like a dove going up to heaven, a sign of her passing.

That siblings are both great saints in the Church is not unusual, especially among nuns and monks. St, Etheldreda, the patron of this blog, had a huge extended and immediate family of saints. One may ask why we have not seen this is modern times? Could it be that families are not taught mutual love and respect in our sad age of individualism? Susie has a television and computer in her room and Buddy has the same in his room. They both have cell phones, the Internet and subscriptions to Netflix. They do not need to talk to each other as Benedict and Scholastica did quite well. The art of conversation, either on secular or religious subjects is a lost art. My best friends and I can discuss for hours Scripture, the history of the Church, Church music, architecture, the Latin Mass, feasts days, movable feasts, saints, and the spiritual journey, We can discuss prayer, prayer intentions, the Indwelling of the Trinity, religious freedom of conscience and vestments, all things I have discussed with various friends in the past week or ten days.

So, why is spiritual conversation a lost art? Priorities. Just as Scholastica had to call on God to send a storm to keep her brother with her so she could talk with him before dying, so people choose what is important in their lives. Television or talking, computer or conversation, eating again or engaging, sports or spirituality, gaming or Godliness?  Scholastica's prayer was answered because God rewarded her choice of priorities. Spiritual conversations are gifts from God.