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Wednesday 26 August 2015

On Father Ripperger and The Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother

Fr. Ripperger holds Master’s degrees in Philosophy and Theology and completed his Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He attended seminary at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT. Upon ordination, Fr. Chad Ripperger became a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.  He has served as a parish priest and has taught at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Nebraska and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska.  As his work drew him into the direction of deliverance and exorcism ministry he was called to begin a new order of priests trained to perform that work. He began the work of founding the Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother, a semi-hermetical community of priests dedicated to exorcism work. On March 27th, 2015, the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows, Bishop Edward Slattery celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Tulsa as a celebration of the official founding of The Society of the Sorrowful Mother as a society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right.

"The priests of the nascent Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother, the "Doloran Fathers," work in cooperation with our local bishop to provide the assistance of the rites and prayers of our Holy Mother, the Church to some of the most spiritually afflicted suffering souls, many unable to find relief or deliverance from their affliction for years. Because a good deal of prayer is required of the Doloran priests each day to support their challenging mission, their life is semi-contemplative."  Quote from

SPUC and The Synod


Why SPUC is concerned about reception of Holy Communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics

I am occasionally asked: Why is SPUC, through Voice of the Family, engaging in the Family Synod; and, in particular, why is SPUC so concerned about the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics?

SPUC is a non-confessional human rights organisation which has in its ranks members of all faiths and none. In common with virtually every other pro-life group in the world, many, if not most, of our members are Catholics.

All members of the Church enjoy the freedom to share their views with members of the hierarchy and with each other. In fact all Catholics have a duty to do so in certain circumstances. The Code of Canon Law states:
According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons. (Canon 212)
The Church has always taught that marriage is an indissoluble union of one man and one woman, which ends only with one of the death of one of the spouses. If a person “remarries”, without the first marriage being declared null by the Church, they are guilty of adultery. They cannot therefore receive Holy Communion until they have confessed this sin and resolved to amend their lives. This has been very clearly taught by the Church throughout her history and Catholics at every level of the Church have a right and a duty to defend this teaching.

This doctrine has been authoritatively restated numerous times in the last few decades including in the following documents:
- Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 22 November 1981

- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of the Faithful who are Divorced and Remarried; 4 September 1994

- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Concerning some Objections to the Church’s Teaching on the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, 1st January 1998

- Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of the Faithful who are Divorced and Remarried, 24 June 2000

- Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 22 February 2007

- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responsum to the question "Can a confessor grant absolution to a penitent who, having been religiously married, has contracted a second union following divorce?"22 October 2014
You will note that the most recent decree was promulgated by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith during the pontificate of Pope Francis and since the Extraordinary Synod. In other words, the position adopted by SPUC is exactly that of the Church’s magisterium, both past and present.

Nevertheless the question remains: Is it in SPUC 's remit to campaign on this issue?

In November 2011 SPUC’s Council, our policy-making body which is elected by our grass roots volunteers, adopted a motion that the Society should “to do its utmost to fight for the retention of the traditional understanding of marriage in the history, culture and law of the United Kingdom, namely the exclusive union of one man with one woman for life; and accordingly instructs its officers and executive committee to conduct a major campaign to this end...” The defence of the traditional understanding of marriage is therefore now clearly part of SPUC’s remit. The vote of Council on that occasion was unanimous - the first time I can recall that being the case with any vote at Council in 40 years serving on that body.

The reason why marriage is so important is because all aspects of sexuality, marriage and the family are closely interconnected. In his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II taught:
“It is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not help the young to accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection. Sexuality, which enriches the whole person, "manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love". The trivialization of sexuality is among the principal factors which have led to contempt for new life.”
I am convinced that we cannot defeat abortion if our society does not value marriage as the exclusive and indissoluble union of one man and one woman. I have had the privilege of speaking about this topic at conferences in various parts of the world. Marriage is the natural habitat of unborn children, the place where God intends them to be conceived, educated and nurtured. When we destroy the habitat we end up destroying children too. The statistics bear this out; four out five aborted children are conceived outside of marriage. If an organisation that worked to protect orang-utans refused to do anything to protect the rainforest they would be generally considered to be failing in their duty. Similarly any organisation fighting to defend unborn children must defend their natural habitat, which is the family founded on marriage. It is for this reason that SPUC will continue to fight for the traditional understanding of marriage.

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Another feast today

As I am in an English mood today, here is the poem by Hilaire Belloc on Our Lady of Czestochowa, the great name for Our Lady, the Black Madonna from Jasna Gora Monastery.

Please join me in prayer today and ask her for a very special intention and the success of my three main projects yet realized.

And, a big "hello" to all my dear readers in Poland.

Ballade to Our Lady of Częstochowa
Lady and Queen and Mystery manifold
  And very Regent of the untroubled sky,
Whom in a dream St Hilda did behold
  And heard a woodland music passing by:
  You shall receive me when the clouds are high
With evening and the sheep attain the fold.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
  And this is that in which I mean to die.
Steep are the seas and savaging and cold
  In broken waters terrible to try;
And vast against the winter night the wold,
  And harbourless for any sail to lie.
  But you shall lead me to the lights, and I
Shall hymn you in a harbour story told.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
  And this is that in which I mean to die.
Help of the half-defeated, House of Gold,
  Shrine of the Sword, and Tower of Ivory;
Splendour apart, supreme and aureoled,
  The Battler’s vision and the World’s reply.
  You shall restore me, O my last Ally,
To vengeance and the glories of the bold.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
  And this is that in which I mean to die.
Prince of the degradations, bought and sold,
  These verses, written in your crumbling sty,
Proclaim the faith that I have held and hold
  And publish that in which I mean to die.
Hilaire Belloc

9 October 1845.

A miraculous thing happened on that date. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman came into the Catholic Church at Littlemore near Oxford,

Many years ago, I visited that holy place, saw Newman's little cell, and breathed the air of simplicity and peace, only found in areas where saints have lived. I wanted to stay there forever.

Oxford is a bustling city of golden hues and modern stores, but Littlemore seems frozen in time, a reminder of quieter, slower days, and the great spirit of  Blessed Newman.

Today is the feast day of the extraordinary priest who brought Newman into the Church, Blessed Dominic Barberi. This mostly unknown man had a "way" with non-Catholics, bringing a rather Mediterranean view of Catholicism to the old and very English manners of Oxford and Littlemore.

Blessed Dominic, a Passionist Father from Italy, founded four houses of that order in England, after working some time both in Italy and Belgium. His energy and great love brought many Anglicans into the Church right at the time when the anti-Catholic laws were finally being changed, but when, in response to more legal rights, the Papists became the butt of new prejudices and ugliness. Indeed, many people fell back into the fear and frenzy of hatred towards the new Catholic hierarchy re-established just one year after Blessed Dominic's death in Reading on August 27, 1849.

I cannot imagine the turbulent times in which he worked as a pastor and missionary, but the fruit of his work blesses us all today.  Let us pray to Blessed Dominic Barberi, a saint I truly would like to meet someday.

Blessed Dominic had a heart attack in Reading, when coming out of the train station. He was taken to a nearby pub, where he died. Amazing. I wonder if any other saints have died in English pubs?

The old station became a pub, but I do not know if the Victorian building is the same one in Blessed Dominic's story.

Thoughts for the day.....

A servant of God signifies one who has a great charity towards his neighbor, and an inviolable resolution to follow in everything the Divine Will; who bears with his own deficiencies, and patiently supports the imperfections of others.----St. Francis de Sales 

The greatest fault among those who have a good will is that they wish to be something they cannot be, and do not wish to be what they necessarily must be. They conceive desires to do great things for which, perhaps, no opportunity may ever come to them, and meantime neglect the small which the Lord puts into their hands. There are a thousand little acts of virtue, such as bearing with the importunities and imperfections of our neighbors, not resenting an unpleasant word or a trifling injury, restraining an emotion of anger, mortifying some little affection, some ill-regulated desire to speak or to listen, excusing an indiscretion, or yielding to another in trifles. These are things to be done by all; why not practice them? The occasions for great gains come but rarely, but of little gains many can be made each day; and by managing these little gains with judgment, there are some who grow rich. Oh, how holy and rich in merits we should make ourselves, if we but knew how to profit by the opportunities which our vocation supplies to us! Yes, yes, let us apply ourselves to follow well the path which is close before us, and to do well on the first opportunity, without occupying ourselves with thoughts of the last, and thus we shall make good progress.----St. Francis de Sales