Three times in his speech at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Cardinal Sarah described gender ideology as “demonic.” More recently, Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Coakley used the same word addressing the issue. So did Bishop Paprocki of Springfield regarding gay marriage. A strong word, to be sure. But most people misunderstand why. Some take “demonic” for mere hyperbole. Something is not just bad, but really, really bad. Others see it as rash judgment of opponents – literally demonizing them. Still others take it as just an overstatement by religious fanatics, who are unhinged anyway.
But “demonic” is a sober and sobering assessment of the thought behind gender ideology. It’s not a judgment of people’s intentions. It doesn’t mean that those who endorse gender ideology are demonic or possessed. It means, rather, that the reasoning and results of that philosophy – no matter how innocently held – line up with the desires, tactics, and resentments of “Old Scratch” himself.
The Devil’s Basic Lie
Gender ideology repeats the basic lie of the evil one: “You will be like gods.” (Gen 3:5) Of course, this lie lurks behind every temptation. Every sin comes from that prideful desire to supplant God. But in the arena of human sexuality, it has greater gravity.
God creates; man is created. God brings into being; man receives his being. Gender ideology proposes something else: that we are our own creators. In one of his last (and perhaps most important) addresses, Pope Benedict noted:
The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. . . . But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. . . .the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.
And if we find our bodies not in keeping with what we have determined ourselves to be, then we alter them accordingly. Against this, Pope Francis counsels: “Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place accepting it and respecting it as it was created.” (AL, 56)
The Devil Hates the Body
There’s also demonic hatred of the body. C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters chronicles the demonic resentment of God’s favoring us “hairless bipeds. . .[animals] begotten in a bed.” Why this hatred? Perhaps because the human body and soul are one. The soul, having so much in common with the angelic nature, is one with the body, having so much in common with animal nature. The devil takes this union as a personal offense. He (as we all experience) seeks to undo it – to divide us from our own flesh, to pit body and soul against each other. He masterfully leads us to worship the body one moment and abhor it the next. Death – the separation of body and soul – was, of course, his greatest victory.
There’s also the fact that the Word became flesh. God’s great act of generosity toward us embodied souls simply aggravates the devil’s envy. The Son of God assumed a human nature, including a human body. He saved us not only in, but through that Body. Why should this dignity be given to us, so inferior to the seraphim, and not to him, the highest of angels?
Fallen man is always at odds with his body. Christianity seeks to heal that division. Gender ideology seeks to codify it. The latter rests on the principle that there is no real relationship between body and soul. So absolute is their division that a person can be physically one thing and spiritually another.
The Devil Hates Procreation
Closely linked to this is the demonic hatred of procreation. The devil cannot procreate. But man does. Man and woman cooperate with God in bringing a new human person into being. The devil is envious because God is generous. Of course, gender ideology rejects the complementarity of male and female – and what their union accomplishes.
The Lord takes up natural truths – body, marriage, and family – and uses them as the template and means for His salvific work. He is the Word made flesh, the Bridegroom, the Son of Joseph and Mary, Who makes us members of God’s family. We grasp the significance of Jesus’ offering His Body on the Cross and in the Eucharist precisely because we know the body has significance. The permanent, faithful, and life-giving union of husband and wife enables us to grasp what it means that Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride.
The loss of these natural truths, therefore, inhibits our ability to understand the supernatural and grasp salvation. If the human body has no intrinsic meaning – if it tells us nothing about ourselves and can be adjusted as we see fit – then how can we appreciate the words, “This is my Body”?
The Devil Hates the Supernatural
If we have no lived experience of the complementarity of man and woman, of bridegroom and bride, then we are at a loss for understanding Christ the Bridegroom dying for His Bride. And neither can we grasp the meaning of God as Father, God as Son, the Church as Mother, etc. It’s in the devil’s interest to deprive of us of these natural signs of the supernatural.
Of course, these demonic tendencies have not popped up all of a sudden. They are his usual tactics. We have seen them conspicuously at work in the sexual revolution, in contraception, abortion, and IVF. Gender ideology rests upon these and promotes them to a new degree.
Recognition of the demonic is perhaps helpful. But it should also prompt us to an examination of conscience – to see how we ourselves have fallen for his tricks: by our little acts of prideful self-exaltation (which is really self-creation), by our own disdain or mistreatment of the body (our own and those of others), by our own unchastity (which demeans the power of procreation), by our damaging of how others can come to God.
Some of us may glimpse the demonic in gender ideology. But we all must repent for how we have personally yielded to it.
“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.Reprinted with permission.” Slight editing.
Is Islam a Danger to the Religious Freedom of the U.S. and the World?
By Fr. Marvin Deutsch MM.
Today there is a big controversy going on in our country about Islam. This has been going on for a long time but today it is accentuated by the killing of 49 people at Orlando by a lone Islamic terrorist and also the denial by our president that Islam is a religion of violence. The president maintains that Islam is a religion of peace and those who kill and terrorize are acting contrary to the very meaning and nature of what Islam really is. This is an important discussion, but, I believe, there is another discussion that is even more important and that is, “What is the goal of Islam. It is quite obvious from the Koran that the goal of Islam is to conquer the world for Allah. Islam cannot rest until everyone is a Muslim, wither by conversion or by force. And so this is not only a threat to Christianity, but also the constitution and first amendment of the US. – the freedom of religion in our country. It is this goal that gives meaning to the jihadist who are wreaking terror throughout the world. There is a method to their madness, and that is why those who commit these crimes feel so good about what they are doing. The Koran supports this belief:
And fight with them until there is no more Fitna (unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah.
Muhammed died of a heart attack in 632. He was a little over 60 years old. He taught his followers well about conquering the world by force (Jihad), if necessary for Allah. Within a hundred years, Islam became the controlling religion in all of Asia Minor (what is now Turkey). All of North Africa was taken over by invasion. Muslims also took over Spain and ruled there for 800 years. It wasn’t until the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492 that the Muslims were overpowered and dismissed from Spain. Islam tried to get into France by going over the Pyrenees but were held back and defeated by the French army.
The Battle of Lepanto
Several times Islam was on the verge of conquering Europe. Right after the council of Trent, Michael Ghislieri, a Dominican, was chosen Pope. He took the name, Pius V, and reigned from 1565-1572. During his reign, the catechism ordered by the council of Trent, was completed and translated into many languages. Pius V saw the great threat of the Islamic Turks who were poised to attack Italy and take over all of Europe, which would bring to an end Christian civilization. Pius V exhorted all European leaders to unite against the Turkish invasion. Only Venice, Genoa, and Spain answered the papal call. Don Juan of Austria, the brilliant illegitimate son of Habsburg Emperor, Charles V, was put in charge of the Christian fleet. In 1571, one of the greatest sea battles in history took place between Christian and Islamic fleets. The battle occurred in the Bay of Lepanto, off the shores of Greece. The Christian forces were outnumbered 3 to 2. During the battle Pius V had all the Catholics in Rome praying the rosary. What looked like a disaster suddenly changed. The winds became favorable to the Christian fleet. The Christian forces killed or captured over 70,000 Turks and took only 7,500 causalities. Over 10,000 Christian slaves were released. Europe was saved.
In the latter part of the 17th Century, Vienna was almost taken and only saved by the Christian army under the command of the king of Poland, a date that is unforgettable for us today, September 11, but this was Sept. 11, 1683. When planning the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, that specific date in September may have been very influential, There are so many dates and battles that could be enumerated here, but perhaps what I have written is enough to show that Jihad has always been part of Islamic thinking and activity. The fact that Non-Moslems and Christians were especially hated, should also be mentioned. From 1915 to 1922, over a million and a half Christian Armenians were systematically put to death in Turkey, a fact that the Turks refuse to admit today. Today Turkey, which was once the cradle of Christianity, is 99% Moslem.
The great English Catholic writer, Hillarie Belloc wrote a book in 1938 in which he said that Islam will rise again. Islam had been quiet since about 1925 when, after the genocide of over a million and half Armenians in Turkey, Turkey was declared a secular state by Ataturk. The reason why Belloc wrote this was because he understood the very nature of Islam as taught in the Koran, that Islam must conquer the world for Allah.
In Islam the notion of God loving all peoples is nonexistent. Yes, he is merciful and compassionate, but only for those who are Muslims since they are the only ones, according to the Muslim belief, are conformed to his will.
According to the Koran, (There are over 100 verses that mention Jihad) violent Jihad is part and parcel of the Islamic religion in order to conquer the world for Allah. It is true that there are many peace loving Muslims. The Jihadists would consider that these peace loving people are not true to their heritage, the very opposite of what our president is preaching. It does no good to pretend otherwise.
How does it happen that so many people insist on living obstinately in sin until they are ultimately lost? As with all progressive diseases, sin is a sickness that moves through stages, further debilitating and hardening the sinner in his ways.
St. Alphonsus Liguori laid out five stages through which sin (if not resisted and repented of in its initial attacks) takes an increasing toll on the human person, making repentance less likely and more difficult.
While the names of the stages are mine, I am summarizing the insights of St. Alphonsus, who details these stages in his lengthy essay, “Considerations on the Eternal Maxims” (also called “Preparation for Death”) in Chapter 22, “On Evil Habits.” I have added some of my own additional insights as well.
The 5 Stages of Sin
Stage 1 – Impairment – The first effect of habitual sin is that it blinds the understanding. Scripture says, Their own malice blinded them (Wisdom 2:21). Yes, every sin produces blindness, and the more that sins are multiplied, the greater the blindness they produce.
A further effect of this blindness is a foolish and dangerous walking about. Scripture provides several references for this:
The wicked walk round about (Ps. 12:8).
They stagger as with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment (Is 28:7).
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the pit that he has made(Ps 7:14-15).
And thus habitual sin leads to impaired vision and an impaired walk. Not seeing, the wicked stumble about and fall into a pit that they themselves made.
Stage 2 – Indifference – After an evil habit is contracted, the sins that previously excited sorrow are now viewed with increasing indifference. Scripture says the following:
Fools destroy themselves because of their indifference (Prov 1:32).
But he who is careless of conduct will die (Prov 19:16).
And to the increasingly indifferent and careless, the Lord gives this solemn and salutary warning: In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come (Is 32:10).
And thus, as unrepented sin grows, not only does the sinner stagger about and fall into pits, he cares less and less about the foolishness of his ways. The sins that once caused shame, or the thought of which caused sorrow and aversion, are either unnoticed or seem normal—even attractive.
Stage 3 – Improbability – As sin deepens its hold, the willingness and even the capacity to repent decreases. Why is this? St. Augustine answers well when he says, dum servitur libidini, facta est consuetudo, et dum consuetudini non resistitur, facta est necessitas(when lust was served it became habit, and when habit was not resisted it became necessity) (Confessions, 8.5.10). Sin deepens its hold on the sinner in this way.
Stage 4 – Incorrigibility – As Scripture says, The wicked man, when he is come into the depths of sins, has contempt (Proverbs 18:3). St. John Chrysostom commented on this verse, saying that habitual sinners, being sunk in the abyss of darkness, despise corrections, sermons, censures, Hell, and God; they despise everything.
A bad habit hardens the heart and the habitual sinner remains increasingly unmoved and mired in contempt for any correction or remedy. Scripture says of them, At your rebuke O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered (Psalm 76:7). An evil habit gradually takes away all remorse and supplants it with angry indignation at any attempted correction.
And then it happens that, instead of regretting his sins, the sinner rejoices in them, even laughing and boasting of them. Scripture says, They are glad when they have done evil and rejoice in the perverseness of evil (Proverbs 2:14). A fool works mischief as if it were for sport (Proverbs 10:23).
Thus they are incorrigible. They laugh at attempted correction and celebrate their sins with pride.
Stage 5 – Indisposition – When the understanding is deprived of light and the heart is hardened, the sinner ordinarily dies obstinate in his sin. Scripture says, A hard heart shall fare ill at the end (Ecclesiastes 3:27).
Some may say that they will amend their ways before they die, but it’s very difficult for a habitual sinner, even in old age, to change his life. St. Bernard said, “The man on whom the weight of a bad habit presses, rises with difficulty.”
Indeed, how can a sinner, weakened and wounded by habitual sin, have the strength to rise? Even if he sees the way out, he often considers the remedies too severe, too difficult. Though conversion is not impossible, he is indisposed because it all seems like too much work. In addition, his love has likely grown cold for the good things that God offers.
And thus, even on their deathbeds, many sinners remain unmoved and unwilling to change; the darkness is deep, the heart is hardened, and sloth has solidified.
In these ways sin is like a progressive illness, a deepening disease; it moves through stages much as does cancer. Repentance at any stage is possible, but it becomes increasingly unlikely, especially by stage four, when the sinner becomes proud of his sin and joyful in his iniquity.
Washington D.C., Jun 22, 2016 / 11:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With relics of two English martyrs currently touring the U.S., the Archbishop of Baltimore implored Catholics to follow their example by defending religious freedom.
Speaking at the opening Mass of the annual “Fortnight for Freedom,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, clarified that “we are not here tonight to argue a point of constitutional law nor are we here to re-argue what has already been persuasively argued in our courts.”
“No, we are here to honor the martyrs, to celebrate the freedom to bear witness, beginning with Jesus Christ, ‘the faithful witness’ of the Father’s love, for Christ and his sacrificial love are the very heart of the Eucharist we celebrate.”
The “Fortnight for Freedom” is an annual two-week period of prayer, fasting, and education for religious freedom, called for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The fortnight begins on the eve of the feast of English martyrs Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher – whose relics are currently touring the U.S. – and ends on July 4, Independence Day.
More, chancellor of England, and Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, were beheaded by order of King Henry VIII because they would not honor him as head of the Church in England. “Both Fisher and More died not merely for freedom of conscience in the abstract but for freedom of conscience in defending marriage and the rights of the Church,” Archbishop Lori said.
Yet they, and martyrs throughout the centuries, followed Christ’s example of meekness and self-sacrifice, he noted.
“All these martyrs faced unjust judgment yet responded truthfully and respectfully to their accusers,” he said, and they “re-produced in their own flesh the sacrificial death of Christ.”
Their witness to the Church’s teaching is an example for Catholics everywhere to defend freedom of religion, Archbishop Lori insisted, adding that Catholics should remember all the martyrs, particularly those of recent decades.
“We may think that the days of the martyrs have ended but as Pope Francis points out there are more martyrs for the faith in our times than there were during the first centuries of the Church,” Archbishop Lori said, noting Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant martyrs under Nazism and Communism that formed an “‘ecumenism of blood,’ as Pope Francis says.”
Recent years have seen the martyrdom of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, he continued.
You Are Under Attack
Yet religious freedom is now under siege even in the U.S., he said, noting threats like “the HHS mandate which seeks to force religious employers to provide in their employee health insurance plans so-called services contrary to deeply held teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Other threats include the marginalization of or legal action against people in fields of medicine, business, or charitable work because they obey their consciences and “uphold traditional marriage” or another Church teaching, he said.
“Let us indeed ‘read the signs of the times’ as we witness what Pope Francis calls a ‘polite persecution’ going on all around us,” the archbishop added.
Signs of the Times
He acknowledged that these threats “pale in comparison to those faced by our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world,” but then asked “who is served” by disregarding these threats. “Surely not those who remain strong in their witness in the face of violence and death!”
Christians in the U.S. might not be martyrs, but will have to uphold Church teaching in the face of an increasingly hostile secularism, he warned.
“We may not be called upon to shed our blood but we are called upon to defend our freedoms not merely in the abstract but as embedded in matters such as immigration, marriage, and the Church’s teaching on sexuality.”
When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, he was not a “rabble-rouser seeking confrontation with the state,” the archbishop said. Rather, Jesus was “the very personification of the Beatitudes he once proclaimed on the mountainside.”
He was “in the sovereign freedom of the Father’s love: poor in spit with few possessions and no visible means of defense; full of sorrow and anguish for our sins; meek and mild, the Lamb of God, seeking only the Fathrier’s will; a man of single hearted love who came to bring us the peace of God’s kingdom, and who was now being persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”
“No decision Pilate could render would deter Him from his mission. Caesar could not touch the things of God,” he said. Christians must live this same freedom of spirit, he insisted, if we wish to be catalysts of peace and justice in our land.”
You Must be a Witness
Christians must be witnesses to the freedom of Christ and the martyrs, “by loving and praying for those who engage in violent persecution, as well as those who seek to limit our ministries and curtail our freedoms at home.”
“We know not what the future holds, but let us approach it as Jesus would, with ‘heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience’,” he concluded. “If we do so, then, no matter happens, we shall truly be free!”
Fr. James Martin, the editor-at-large of America, recently posted a video on Facebook about the Orlando massacre. Fr. Martin objects to the bishops not making an explicit reference to the LGBT community, as they expressed their condolences. Fr. Martin’s view of faith and the role of the Catholic Church is not only flawed … it is dangerous. Here’s why …
For me, our Catholic faith is best understood by the story of the Prodigal Son. The son chooses (free will) to leave the love, protection and tranquility of being home with the father, in order to indulge in his sensual pleasures. This is the same choice, for example, a person makes when they click on a porn site and engage in masterbation. They are, quite literally, choosing to exchange being home in a state of grace – divine friendship – for that moment of self-gratification. It is not God’s choice to be separated, it is theirs.
However, if you look closely at the story of the Prodigal Son, you’ll notice, first, the father neither goes off to find the son and drag him home, nor does the father tell the son he is free to bring the prostitutes home with him. To love God or not is a choice. Without free will, we are only robots controlled by another.
Instead, we see the “unprotected” and “empty” son come to his senses and realize home is where he needs to be. But, his distorted understanding of love, that he projects onto his father, believes he is forever doomed to be an “outsider,” unworthy to ever be called his son again.
The most powerful part of the story is when the father catches sight of the son from far off, and runs out to the son, embraces him and kisses him. It is easy to see that the father was watching the horizon every moment of every day, hoping THIS day, THIS hour would be the moment the son “decided” (free will) to return home. AND, we’ll have no talk of ANY diminished dignity. NO!! Get the robe and the ring and the sandals – all signs of being the prince of the king – Then the party begins!! The father wondered if his son, whom he loves SO MUCH, was lost forever … now he has him home, safe and sound.
THIS is my Catholic Church!! This is what REAL mercy is all about. My Church has its loving arms WIDE OPEN at ALL TIMES, always ready to welcome those who want to be home. But, like the father, we are not saying, “Bring the prostitutes home with you.”
This is where Fr. Martin’s skewed understanding of faith is so dangerous. You see, by justifying, rationalizing or even ignoring the sinful acts of homosexuality, we are, in essence, saying, “Come home and bring the prostitutes with you.” What are you saying, Fr. Martin? In opposition with very clear biblical and Church teachings that homosexual acts are gravely sinful, are you saying that is no longer true? Or, are you saying, “Come home and bring the prostitutes with you?” Maybe the whole idea of being separated from God when we engage in mortal sin is a “hateful concept” for you?
All of these are what is called “false mercy.” Instead of offering a Church with perpetual, loving open arms for the “repentant” sinner … a way out of their prison of sinfulness, Fr. Martin is offering a false notion of mercy that says, “Go ahead and remain in your dark and destructive sinful life … God is perfectly okay with that. Just come home, and bring the prostitutes with you.” He is offering a home that is actually a prison.
Our Church is truly a Field Hospital. It is a place to be healed and restored to health. It is not a place for people to come and bleed to death while we withhold the only real healing medicine – a state of grace.
All are truly welcomed home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to be healed and set free, but leave the prostitutes behind.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
How much more bizarre can our society get? It’s a question that many have been asking for a long time, but these days it’s hard to keep up with the answers, which change hourly.
In Alaska, a boy who thinks he’s a girl is allowed to participate in the girls’ track meet, and he wins. The girls are not happy, but are not quite sure how to express their protest since they don’t want to be branded as bigots for calling a boy a boy when that boy wants to be called a girl.
There are a growing number of reports that the man formerly known as Bruce Jenner, who now goes by the name “Caitlyn,” is having second thoughts about “transitioning” to womanhood and is contemplating returning to identifying himself as what he still actually is, a man. This regret is actually common for people who adopt the appearance and lifestyle of the opposite sex. These reports have not been confirmed, but were this to occur, does anyone really think that the fascistic LGBT movement will support such a transition?
A famous homosexual couple has adopted children (apparently two men cannot naturally conceive a child) and projected a carefully cultivated image as a “happily” “married” couple with the help of media who desperately want to tell such a story. Yet as it turns out, their private lives are more sordid than the story allows, and the couple is suing to silence media who would report certain ugly and inconvenient facts, so that their adopted children would be spared the pain of knowing what their adoptive parents actually do.
The idea that the LGBTQQ… movement is about to implode has been discussed recently, and there are signs of sanity coming from progressives who have been supportive of the movement but are starting to recognize its totalitarian and anti-human nature. Better late than never, I suppose.
How Much More Bizarre Can It Get?
I’m not sure the question is meaningful anymore, since all bets are off. There are many conversations going on about how we arrived here, with a great deal of interesting histories of cultural Marxism, Communism, feminism, and other anti-Christian ideologies whose goal has been to “liberate” men and woman from the oppression of religion, marriage, traditional roles of men and women, etc.
I’m not sure the girls in Alaska, Mr. Jenner, or the famous couple and their children feel all that liberated.
When your revolution is based on a lie, it will certainly fall, but it can do a lot of damage to nations, lives and souls before it does. We “got here” because we turned our backs on God. We happen to be living through a deluge of degradation almost unimaginable even a few years ago.
The Church Predicted This
Except that the Church did imagine this collapse. Specifically, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, said something that could have been written yesterday, in 1984’s The Ratzinger Report (summarized by Christopher West):
What we are living through in our day is the result of an ideology that has completely severed body and soul. And that’s the very definition of death. Barring a divine intervention, we must now endure the full consequences of the “uprooting of the human person in the depth of his nature” – an uprooting that stems from the fact that “sex has remained without a locus and has lost its point of reference” since the cultural embrace of contraception (The Ratzinger Report, p. 84).
By detaching sex from procreation, the essential meaning and natural orientation of the gender distinction is lost and one’s sex is eventually “viewed as a simple role, interchangeable at one’s pleasure,” Ratzinger observed. From there, people end up demanding the right of “escaping from the ‘slavery of nature,’ demanding the right to be male or female at one’s will or pleasure” (p. 95).
The Consequences of Embracing Contraception
Call this an update of Humanae vitae 17, in which Blessed Pope Paul VI famously predicted — against the spirit of the age — that the wide embrace of contraception would have a host of negative consequences. Those who dismissed Pope Paul, and later Cardinal Ratzinger, simply couldn’t imagine what we are actually seeing happen today, when we call evil good, and good, evil. When we don’t know God, how can we know ourselves?
I love serving a Church that knows the true nature of man and woman because she knows the One in whose image we are made. I love serving a Church that knows what is true and good, a Church that knows Christ because she was founded by Him. I am grateful for her social and moral doctrine, which are rooted in Holy Scripture, and offer true liberation by guiding all people of good will to live in love and truth.
If you are looking around for a rock to hold onto as the flood waters rise and currents seem to pull you away, know that you have it in the One, Holy, Catholic Church. Avail yourself of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and in His body and blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. Choose from among the many devotions available to the faithful and make your faith central to your life, and invite others to do the same. Be an example of joyful and intelligent faith, and a source of strength for your family and all whom you meet.
Don’t be afraid! Live with courage, faith, hope and love.
The Spanish Network for Refugees has initiated criminal proceedings against the Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, charging him with inciting “hate crimes,” after the prelate spoke out publicly against a reigning “gay empire,” criticized radical feminist groups and decried Europe’s open-door policy toward migrants.
In their statement, the network said that Cañizares “is an ultra-conservative trying to subvert the constitutional order,” and accused him of nostalgia for “other times when immigrants, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and women were subjected to the dictates of a society governed by the powers of the Catholic Church.”
The advocacy group claims that the archbishop, nicknamed “Little Ratzinger” because of his theological acumen and similarities to Pope Benedict, has criticized feminist organizations as well as speaking out against European policy toward migrants.
The statement said that in his opposition to open borders, the Cardinal was “aligning himself with neo-Fascist organizations” which, like Cañizares, “consider persons of other ethnicities or religious beliefs as dangerous and potentially criminal.”
Last month, Cañizares slammed the “gay empire” for its attacks on the family, as well as joining Pope Francis in criticizing “gender ideology,” which he reportedly described as “the most insidious ideology in the history of humanity.”
The Cardinal spoke these words on the eve of the International Day Against Lesbophobia, Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, at a Mass celebrated in the chapel at the Catholic University of Valencia.
The Cardinal recently flew to Rome for a Jubilee year pilgrimage, where he had a private audience with Pope Francis.
In their statement, the Network said that the Archbishop had manifested an “evident disdain” toward groups at risk of social exclusion, and moreover had launched “a frontal attack on human rights and the whole system of protection of minorities, under Constitutional protection in our legal system.”
The statement did not offer an opinion regarding the protection of free speech, a sore point among human rights groups in Spain.
In March 2015, the Spanish senate voted to enact controversial changes to the nation’s public security laws, in what many saw as suppression of the rights of freedom of assembly and expression. At the time, Virginia Pérez Alonso of the Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information called the legislation “one of the worst attacks on liberties that we’ve seen in Spain since the times of Franco.”
As the New York Times gingerly noted in reference to the Spanish ruling, some European countries “have long placed stricter limits on political and hate speech than has the United States.”
Some civil liberties groups “are growing increasingly alarmed at the broad ways such laws are being adapted,” the paper observed, and “there is no telling how the statutes could be applied in the future.”
Joining the attack on Cardinal Cañizares was Monica Oltra, the vice president of the Valencian government, who said that the Cardinal’s words “encourage a feeling of hatred and associated crimes,” accusing him of throwing around “misogynistic messages that devalue the image of women” as well as the LGBT community.
Speaking in Manhattan Wednesday at the Sacra Liturgia conference aimed at promoting the Traditional Latin Mass, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone denounced “gender ideology” and its rise in popular culture, saying it threatens the Catholic faith.
“The clear biological fact is that a human being is born either male or female,” said the archbishop. “Yet now we have the idea gaining acceptance that biological sex in one’s personal gender identity can be at variance with each other, with more and more gender identities being invented.”
Highlighting the absurdities behind gender ideology, Cordileone pointed out that some major universities have “a grand total of 14 different gender identities” that he believed would only expand as time went on.
Though not mentioning him by name, the talk was no doubt inspired by Bruce Jenner’s calling himself a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Pope Francis Agrees
Moving beyond just being a mere culture warrior, the archbishop expanded his talk by warning, in the same vein as Pope Francis, that gender ideology means total destruction for the Catholic faith, because it undermines the biological reality of the God-given “complementarity” of the male-female relationship.
“God has used marriage as the primary sacred sign of a relationship with Him,” he said. “God’s marriage covenant with Israel is fulfilled in the Blood of Christ on the Cross, establishing the new and eternal covenant between Him, the bridegroom, and His Bride, the Church.”
Our Very Foundation is at Risk
“When the culture can no longer apprehend those natural truths,” he continued, “then the very foundation of our teaching evaporates, and nothing we have to offer will make sense.”
Cordileone then cautioned that if this trend continued toward its final results, then we will revert back to a culture of “paganism of old, but with unique, postmodern variations on the theme, such as the practice of child sacrifice, the worship of feminine deities or the cult of priestesses.”