Sunday, October 19, 2014

ACTS Gets a Facelift!

Well, it's been at least a couple years since ACTS has had a "new look" so, Scott has been working on one for the last couple weeks and has uploaded it now.  Take a look!  Let him know what you think!  It's still a bit of a work in progress (it always is!) with some pages still using the previous looks.  If there is a feature missing from the new look that you'd still like to see, be sure and leave a comment here for Scott!


Here's a preview/thumbnail:


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Relatio or Family Synod

The extraordinary synod on the family has concluded and the final report centers upon what the synod was supposed to and did center upon - the family.  It especially spoke of concern for children in tough family situations.  It encourages pastors to be compassionate and welcoming to all and assisting them through their seas of difficulty.

This is quite a stark difference from the interim report from the same synod.  Many of the bishops had objected to that interim report stating much of said there was not what was actually discussed in the synod, and if any of those topics were discussed - they were minor discussions, not central to the synod and not the purpose of the synod.

Here is the final report (below) the ordinary synod on the family will be held sometime in 2015.

Synod14 - Message of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , 18.10.2014


III EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

MESSAGE
            We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
            Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.
            The preparation for this synod assembly, beginning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, helping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.
            We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of becoming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.
            We recognize the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.
            We think also of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.
            We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” (Evangelii gaudium 55) which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.
            We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wandering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and exploitation, victims of human trafficking, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their development, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and burdened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity deadens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us” (Evangelii gaudium 54). We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.
            Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.
***
            There is also the evening light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest residences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wedding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says (2:18), when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 2:16; 6:3).

            This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigor and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved (cf Jn 15:13). In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.
This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.
            This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.
            Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, strangers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the meaning of life.
            The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.
            We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:
            Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
            Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
            Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
            Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.
            Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy.
 http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0768/03043.html

Homosexual Community Claims Church Backtracked

Or so goes the report from The Guardian.  Did the Church really backtrack?  No, she did not!  Come on folks!  This "synod" is a pastoral gathering - it is not a dogmatic or doctrinal council.  There would be no new doctrine coming from this synod - it was a gathering of bishops discussing how to best be pastors for a variety of situations.  As many Catholics have voiced, myself included, the "interim relatio report" was a bit premature.  Synods such as this are works in progress and there will be discussion and disagreement.  Even according the The Guardian article, Pope Francis said:
Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn’t been these … animated discussions … if everyone had agreed with one another or had kept silent in a false and acquiescent peace. 
So Pope Francis EXPECTED there would be "animated discussions."  In fact, there were - but whomever put out the preliminary report did not report any such animations! So was Pope Francis "the loser" as The Guardian reports?  No, not at all!
Pope Francis arrives for the last day of the synod. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images
The Guardian essentially reports that the synod spoke of two issues, homosexuality and the matter of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion.  Um, according to what I've been hearing, those were MINOR topics of discussion with the PRIMARY concern being toward FAMILIES and especially those which have been displaced by war and terrorism.  The bishops are seeking a pastoral and humanitarian way of reaching THOSE families.  Those who are saying the two topics were primary discussions are either misinformed or being deliberately dishonest in their reporting to try and further an agenda.

One of the things I did hear discussed on EWTN Radio today was the fact that the Church is not changing her stance on homosexual "marriage," this cannot happen.  Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord and the Church cannot "accept" such in "marriage" - as that would be putting her blessing on an abomination!  The subject of cohabitation came up too - which fundamentally is JUST AS WRONG as homosexuality!  Both situations are sexual relationships outside the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

Should Catholics be caring and compassionate to those who have homosexual tendencies?  Certainly!  Being caring and compassionate does not mean we "give in" to those who want to change morality.

One priest offers some "advice" to Pope Francis, here is an excerpt:
I have heard the words of my Holy Father and taken them to heart. I sincerely want to be that kind of priest.

However, I can only do this if the timeless truths of the Catholic faith are firmly defined and defended. The dogmas, doctrines and disciplines of the Catholic faith are the tools of my trade. They provide the rules for engagement, the playbook for the game, the map for the journey and the content for the mercy and compassion I wish to display. The historic teachings of the Catholic faith, founded on the teachings of Christ the Lord, revealed by divine inspiration and developed through the magisterium of the Catholic Church provide the method for my mercy, the content for my compassion and the only saving truths I have to share.

This is teamwork Holy Father. I can only do the job you want me to do if you do the job you have been called to do. With the greatest respect and love, please don’t feel that it is your job to tinker with the timeless truths. If my job is to be the compassionate pastor for those in the pew and beyond, then your job is to be the primary definer and defender of the faith. I can’t do my job if you don’t do yours.  (Full article here).
Good words, Fr. Longenecker!  Thank you.

Scott<<<


The Principle - Next Week!

#ThePrinciple - The movie is now slated for release on Friday, October 24, 2014 in Chicago.  I wish I could be there so that I could give my own report on the movie/documentary.  Ever since my first posting on this, December of last year, I've tried to remain objective about this production.  Yes, I did label it as being about geocentricism, and I was quickly and half-way corrected on this.  The documentary is NOT about geocentricism, according to producer/writer Rick DeLano, however he does say that geocentricism plays a part in the documentary.  What is that part?  How big is it?  We have to wait and see.

Anyway, if any of you reading CathApol happen to be in Chicago this coming Friday, and you can give the documentary a viewing - I welcome your report here - pro or con, so long as it is objective and fair.

Rick gives an interview to Christian Cinema, hear it here:




For more information:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reactions to Relatio Document

From a concerned Catholic:

I am eager to read the reactions of people I respect for their wisdom, gravitas in the Church and personal holiness before I make a judgement. But at first glance, I latch onto the last three words of the document: "truth in charity.” It appears that is what the Synod Fathers would like to achieve on whole. Where tough love does not work, they seem to be trying for a softer approach without giving away ground to error. They don’t exactly meet that challenge when they write:

“...we also indicate the constructive elements in those situations that do not yet or no longer correspond to that ideal.” That is like saying, “we recognize good qualities in pedophiles even though their sexual attractions aren’t ideal.”

That being said, this isn’t a document meant to hang our hat on…although the media and liberals will (if they haven’t started to already). It’s just meant to reveal their hand so we can see the cards they are playing with. We don’t know what they will ultimately wager. We don’t know what cards they will discard. We don’t know the final outcome.

That being said, we should all question the HASTE in which this document was produced. If B16 was in charge, this thing wouldn’t see light of day until after the New Year. Clearly, someone wrote this up long before the Synod was over. There is no way a committee could come up with this in like what? … a day or two? Impossible, especially for anything produced from the Vatican where EVERYTHING is late (including Papal Audiences). So, this thing is suspect from the get-go as far as any respectable skeptic would see it.

We can see that they are attempting to “meet people where they are.” Laudable AS LONG AS they do it the way Christ did. He met sinners where they were and challenged them to sin no more. What is missing in the formula we see beneath the words of this document? REPENTANCE and CONVERSION (and we only read about the Church’s need for “conversion" in #28-29). Today is the 97th anniversary of the miracle of Fatima. I have to believe that is significant for our thoughtful reading of this document produced on the same day. Charity yes. But Charity in TRUTH. Christ never gave ground to error—not one inch. He always challenges us to Truth. Not the truth of the Pharisees who put difficult burdens on people based on human standards not in conformity with God’s and certainly not based in any semblance of Truth in Charity. That was Christ’s point. Did he not tell the woman at the well the Truth? Did he give away any ground to error or point out the “constructive elements in those situations that do not yet or no longer correspond to that ideal”? Of course not. Yet, he was kind and compassionate to her. This is the longest recorded dialogue between our Lord and another person. That indicates it deserves our attention. He knew she was thirsty for Truth, so he gave it to her. She changed the subject to talk about religion. He turned the conversation back to talk about relationship and the reality of her situation that had nothing to do with “religion” but Truth. She tries to end the dialogue saying the Messiah will tell her the Truth. He tells her he is the one. He counters with Truth. Now THAT is the way to love people who are hurting (thirsty).

The longest recorded dialogue Christ had with a human being centered on the Truth of marriage. John the Baptist lost his head because of his proclamation of the Truth about Herod’s “marriage.” When Peter finally came up with the Church’s compassionate response to issues dealing with Gentile converts, he listed very few mandates so as to not unduly burden them—one was to obey the marriage laws.

This particular document is interesting more for what it does NOT include which we would normally see in something of this gravity--copious Biblical citations. This should concern us. What in the Gospel of Jesus Christ permits us to appreciate the “constructive elements” in sinful relationships?

Conversely, why not hold up for our edification “constructive elements” in situations in which people are actually taking it on the chin and living a life in conformity with the Gospel? Take the wife whose husband ditched her to run off with the babysitter? I thought the Church was supposed to be about JUSTICE? In some places, this document does not appear to smack of justice for the injured but appeasement to the assailant who doesn’t need to repent, apparently. Instead it suggests the Church needs to change (change harsh words, consider what other religions do etc.) Does it surprise us that some of the Cardinals proposing the Church side-step inconvenient Truths are the very cardinals leading countries with seven percent Mass attendance on any given weekend? We are to give serious attention and credence to THEIR solutions?

We lost a significant portion of Europe to the Protestant reformation because the Church held strong to the Truth of marriage. St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and countless others lost their lives over the issue. Today, Catholic adoption services across our nation are being shut down because of the Church’s defense of marriage. Given the high prices paid for the defense of marriage (in the Bible and on down to our own time), we are to chuck all that and give ground in politically correct or convenient areas? I cannot believe the Holy Spirit would allow that.
Finally, I note this line:
"The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge.” 
That line would be stamped with a FAIL grade by any English instructor worth his/her salt. Gobbly-Gook sentences like that reveal a writer trying to lard over a point he either does not understand or does not wish his reader to understand. THAT is deception. Say what you mean and say it clearly. This sentence reveals a coward.

When Teresa of Avila heard about the Protestant wave engulfing Europe, she buckled down in prayer and mortification. Her prayer was for strength and courage the “men” in the Church needed in order to hold fast to the Bride. These Synod Fathers need the same help. That is our task. Time to break out more rosaries, fast and pray hard and often. In the end, “my immaculate heart will triumph.”

And another:

Our company would never produce a document of this size in that amount of time for EMPLOYEE consumption, never mind WORLD-WIDE distribution. It has to pass by a lot of eyes for thoughtful deliberation and consideration of HOW we say things. I know this thing was an English translation, but still everyone around the world is commenting on how poorly it was written and how poorly words were chosen. But…as we know…this is how liberals operate. They are all too eager to relish the effects of spewing their “progressive wins” in the marketplace.

Fr. Barron, I believe, hits the nail quite squarely:


This is a somewhat more refined version of “those who enjoy sausage ought never to watch how it is made.” The interim report on the Synod represents a very early stage of the sausage-making process and, unsurprisingly, it isn’t pretty. Two more weeks of discussion will follow; then a full year during which the findings of the Synod will be further refined, argued about, and clarified; then the Ordinary Synod on the Family will take place (the one going on now is the Extraordinary Synod), and many more arguments and counter-arguments will be made; finally, some months, perhaps even a year or so, after that, the Pope will write a post-Synodal exhortation summing up the entire process and offering a definitive take on the matter. At that point, I would suggest, something resembling edible sausage will be available for our consumption; until then, we should all be patient and refrain from bloviating. - See more at: http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/having-patience-for-the-sausage-making-synod/4517

Another article:

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/advice-for-the-pope

Monday, October 13, 2014

Synod on the Family Our Preliminary Report

Well, I just read through the document myself and while there are some good points, there are some points which are cause for concern.  I wish to review it more thoroughly before adding more of my own comments.  In the mean time, I am considering what others have to say as well.  Feel free to add comments to this posting and suggestions of other articles.

Original (unofficial translation) of the Synod summary or "relatio."

Polish bishops reject the "relatio" document.

Another report of the Polish bishops (Pope St. John Paul II's homeland) rejecting the "relatio" document.

Pro-Family Catholics reject the Synod half-way through - calling it a betrayal.

The Church is not changing its stand or teaching on homosexuality - it is reiterating that we are welcoming to all, regardless of where they are in their walk. 

Relatio Synod reports the Church must renew commitment to the family.

The Day the Sun Danced

What was the Miracle of the Sun which occurred at Fatima on October 13, 1917?   Well, on the day of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima she presented a miracle - which was witnessed by thousands of people in attendance...  "the Sun danced!"  It moved around in the sky and appeared to fall to earth, and when it returned to its place in the sky the ground, which had been drenched by rain, was completely dry!

A cute little video my children grew up with can be seen here:


The Day the Sun Danced - The True Story of Fatima by aimal_osmani91


Now, even though you can watch it online for free - I encourage you to purchase a copy to support the making of films like these for our children.  You can purchase it here:


Today, October 13th, is the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun or "The Day the Sun Danced."  If you have children, I encourage you to gather them around your computer and watch the video together and discuss it with them.  A great family moment, and when you're done- pray the Rosary with them.

AMDG,
Scott<<<


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Third Secret of Fatima Controversy

Rome claims the Third Secret has been revealed.  They even got Sr. Lucia to state the Third Secret had been revealed, so why is there still a controversy?

Well, the controversy began when Pope John XXIII refused to read the Secret in 1960, as had been "ordered" by Our Lady in the authenticated apparitions of Fatima from 1917.  Not only did he refuse to reveal the Secret at that time, he refused to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Again, back to Sr. Lucia, she stated that in 1984 when Pope St. John Paul II had consecrated the whole world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart - that this sufficed.  Those who maintain there is still a controversy would say a couple things here, 1) it did not happen when Our Lady requested it to happen and 2) Sr. Lucia, though given the privilege to the 1917 apparitions, does not have the authority to state what Heaven would be satisfied by.  That being said, Pope Pius XII in 1942 made a similar consecration, and again in 1952 he specifically mentions the "people of Russia" in a consecration/blessing.  Pope Francis in 2013 also makes a similar blessing.  If ANY of these would have sufficed, then why not the 1942 one?

An Era of Peace

After Russia is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart there is to be an era of world peace ushered in, and that simply has not happened.  There have been wars and rumors of wars ever since World War I (at the end of which came the Fatima apparitions).  There has been no extended time of peace since that time, and especially not since the consecrations which supposedly sufficed, took place.

What Was To Happen?

Well, IF the consecration took place, there would be an age/era of world peace.  IF the consecration did NOT take place then "the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world."  What is the chief "error" of Russia?  Beyond the political aspect of Communism, it is also Atheistic Materialism.  Materialism, in short, believes "if you can't see it, it doesn't exist."  Therefore since God cannot be "seen" - God does not exist in the purest form of Russian Communism.  More and more our world is slipping into this heresy of Materialism.  Every now and then world leaders give some lip-service to God, but when push comes to shove, virtually every one of them are Materialists.  This is clear evidence that Our Lady's prophecy IS coming true!  The errors of Russia ARE spreading, one could even say HAVE spread, throughout the world.

It is the belief of this writer that it is too late to a) fully reveal the secret or b) consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  These were to happen by 1960, and didn't.  I could be, and would love to be, proven wrong about the consecration of Russia, if this were to be done specifically as Our Lady requested, and not watered down, then perhaps it could still usher in an era of world peace.  However, even if this were to happen, it would not be long lasting - perhaps 40 years at best - for such an era would almost inevitably bring upon the next age, the age of the Antichrist. 

What Are We To Do?

Our Lady of Fatima appeared with the Rosary in hand and commanded that we recite the Rosary, every day!  Our Lady of Mt. Carmel gave us the Brown Scapular, and we must wear the Brown Scapular as a shield and reminder of our faith.  We must pray the Rosary as our sword in this fight against Materialism and be counted among the faithful who do not and cannot deny Our Lady and the graces poured forth from her by her Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We must strive to be part of that "remnant" of faithful followers.  Regardless if you believe the Third Secret has been fully revealed (some say there were two documents, one more complete than the other and the lesser one was revealed, not the full one) and/or that the consecration of Russia was done - we must continue to pray the Rosary and wear the Brown Scapular.

Here is a video my wife found and has shared with family and I now share with you:


God be with you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Non-Biblical Account of Miracle by Jesus!

Well, that's what an article going viral on Facebook and Twitter is touting...
however, it is false!  
Don't be taken in!  (I almost was, but I did a bit of research before commenting, and it wasn't hard to debunk this).  Snopes reports that the source of this piece is a satire publication which even disclaims that none of its stories are expected to be taken as fact.  Well, based on the thousands of hits the article is getting, many are taking it seriously - and the publisher is, I'm sure, laughing all the way to the bank!

I do not wish to further the hits at this bogus site, so I am not linking it here - but if you're on Facebook or Twitter, if you haven't seen the story already - you will.  Ignore it or expose it for the satire (and fraud) it really is.
Marcus Velleius Paterculus, falsely attributed to the fraudulent miracle story.

Please link and/or share THIS article with your friends!