Immaculate Mary Ark of the Covenant

Image result for ark covenant

 by

Damien F. Mackey

  

 

“In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman clothed with the sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to make the books of the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a break”.

  

 

 

The human activity discussed in Part Three (i), of ‘cleaving across the real structure’ of things, for some legitimate utilitarian purpose, rather than patiently studying ‘the thing as it is in itself’ (Immanuel Kant’s das Ding an sich), is apparent from the artificial re-arranging of the Book of Genesis into 50 chapters each consisting of multiple verses – whereas the book in-itself naturally falls into those eleven toledot (‘family history) divisions as discussed in my:

 

Structure of the Book of Genesis

https://www.academia.edu/28809452/Structure_of_the_Book_of_Genesis

 

Today we would be hard put to live without those familiar chapters and verses, artificial though they be, which can serve as a handy mnemonic device and points of reference. However they, because they are artificial, can also have the unfortunate effect of hindering one from properly grasping the original intention and meaning of the author(s) of the text.

This is well exemplified when we turn from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to the last, Revelation. Dr. Scott Hahn, writing of what he calls “The Ark of the New Covenant”, explains how St. John the Evangelist’s intended meaning gets completely lost due to the thematic discontinuity caused by the artificial division of Revelation’s Chapters 11-12 (https://stpaulcenter.com/studies/lesson/lesson-three-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant):

 

A. The Ark Reappears in Heaven

 

Luke uses parallel language and images to make his point. But John, the author of Revelation, tells us directly that he saw the Ark of the Covenant – the holy object that had been lost since Jeremiah’s time – in a vision.

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth” (see Revelation 11:19 and Revelation 12:1-2).

This is a strange string of images, almost overwhelming – like much of the book of Revelation. But certainly the statement that the Ark of the Covenant was visible must have caught the attention of the first people who heard the vision.

If the Ark had been seen, then the time Jeremiah spoke of must have come: the time when “God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy,” the time when “the glory of the Lord will be seen in the cloud, just as it appeared in the time of Moses” (see 2 Maccabees 7-8)

And indeed the sights and sounds are the same as in the time of Moses – storm and earthquake:

“There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm” (see Revelation 11:19).

“On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled . . . Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently” (see Exodus 19:16, 18)

Naturally, we want to hear more about the rediscovered Ark of the Covenant. And John goes on to describe what he sees: “a woman clothed with the sun” (see Revelation 12:1).

In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman clothed with the sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to make the books of the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a break.

In the dream-like but deeply significant logic of John’s vision, the Ark of the Covenant is “a woman clothed with the sun.”

B. The Woman Clothed With the Sun

 

And who is this woman?

“She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth ” (see Revelation 12:2).

“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne” (see Revelation 12:5).

The one destined to rule the nations with an iron rod (a shepherd’s rod) is the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah or Christ (see Psalm 2). The “woman clothed with the sun,” whom John sees when he looks at the Ark of the Covenant, is the Mother of the Christ.

C. What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?

 

The Ark of the Covenant was the sign of God’s real presence among His people. In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, God was really present among his people in an even more direct way.

The Ark held the Word of God written in stone. Mary bore the Word of God in flesh.

The Ark held the bread from heaven, a foreshadowing of the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Mary bore the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ (see John 6:48-50).

The Ark contained the rod of Aaron, symbol of his priesthood. Mary bore Jesus Christ, our High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1).

If the Ark of the Covenant was holy, then by the same standards Mary is even holier. As Mother of God, she is the Ark of the New Covenant, bearing Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, our great High Priest. That is not a re-interpretation of the Gospel: it is a truth made clear by the New Testament writers themselves.

[End of quote]

 

For more on this fascinating subject, see the following article:

‘The Marian Dimension’. Part Three: Mary as New Ark of Covenant

https://www.academia.edu/27515445/The_Marian_Dimension._Part_Three_Mary_as_New_Ark_of_Covenant

 

 

The Face of Mercy

The Face of Mercy

Description

Pope Francis has inspired millions by urging the world to embrace Mercy. The essence of this call is revealed in The Face of Mercy, an extraordinary new documentary film narrated by Jim Caviezel.

Watch its story unfold, from St. Faustina’s powerful visions of a merciful God, to her countryman Pope John Paul II who propelled the message of Divine Mercy onto the world stage. Weaving together theology and history with modern testimonials and visual effects, this stirring film creates a remarkable tapestry of what constitutes the face of mercy in our modern world.

Meet the woman who found freedom in forgiveness after seeing her family wiped out by genocide; the former-NFL linebacker who walked away from football to share Christ’s mercy with the homeless; the baseball player who traded MLB ambitions for the monastery; and the young widow who chose mercy towards her husband’s killer.

These moving testimonies offer compelling proof that Divine Mercy is not some abstract theology – it is alive, it is present, and it will transform the world.

Some of the many well-known people featured in this film include Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Andrezej Duda (President of Poland), George Weigel, Eric Mahl, Immaculee Ilibigaza, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko (Vice Postulator for St. Faustina), Vinny Flynn, Fr. Donald Calloway, and others.

….
Taken from: http://www.ignatius.com/Products/FMER-M/the-face-of-mercy.aspx

Pope Francis: Advent calls us to enlarge our horizons

Pope Francis greets the faithful at the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday. - REUTERS

Pope Francis greets the faithful at the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday. – REUTERS

27/11/2016 12:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked the beginning of the new liturgical year at the Angelus for the First Sunday of Advent.
On this Sunday, he said, the Gospel introduces us to one of the most “evocative” themes of the Advent season: the visit of the Lord to humanity. Pope Francis pointed out three visits of the Lord: the first, in the past, with the Incarnation, and Birth of Jesus at Christmas; the second, in the present, as Jesus visits us continually, every day; and the final visit, in the future, when Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
Advent encourages us to reflect on the contrast between our daily routine and the unexpected coming of the Lord. The Gospel, the Pope said, is not trying to frighten us, but “to open our horizons” to further dimensions, giving meaning even to everyday occurrences.
This perspective, he continued, is also an invitation to “sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world” but rather to keep them in their proper place. If, on the other hand, we allow ourselves to be overpowered by a concern for material things, we will not be able to perceive what is much more important: our final encounter with the Lord. And so, the Pope said, Advent is “an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready to depart.”
During Advent, Pope Francis concluded, “we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine.”
Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: 

Mp3

….
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/11/27/pope_francis_advent_calls_us_to_enlarge_our_horizons/1275187

Pope: Full text of homily for Solemnity of Christ the King

Image result for christ the king

20/11/2016 10:30

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

20 November 2016

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is the crown of the liturgical year and this Holy Year of Mercy. The Gospel in fact presents the kingship of Jesus as the culmination of his saving work, and it does so in a surprising way. “The Christ of God, the Chosen One, the King” (Lk 23:35,37) appears without power or glory: he is on the cross, where he seems more to be conquered than conqueror. His kingship is paradoxical: his throne is the cross; his crown is made of thorns; he has no sceptre, but a reed is put into his hand; he does not have luxurious clothing, but is stripped of his tunic; he wears no shiny rings on his fingers, but his hands are pierced with nails; he has no treasure, but is sold for thirty pieces of silver.
Jesus’ reign is truly not of this world (cf. Jn 18:36); but for this reason, Saint Paul tells us in the Second Reading, we find redemption and forgiveness (cf. Col 1:13-14). For the grandeur of his kingdom is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things. Christ lowered himself to us out of this love, he lived our human misery, he suffered the lowest point of our human condition: injustice, betrayal, abandonment; he experienced death, the tomb, hell. And so our King went to the ends of the universe in order to embrace and save every living being. He did not condemn us, nor did he conquer us, and he never disregarded our freedom, but he paved the way with a humble love that forgives all things, hopes all things, sustains all things (cf. 1 Cor 13:7). This love alone overcame and continues to overcome our worst enemies: sin, death, fear.
Dear brothers and sisters, today we proclaim this singular victory, by which Jesus became the King of every age, the Lord of history: with the sole power of love, which is the nature of God, his very life, and which has no end (cf. 1 Cor 13:8). We joyfully share the splendour of having Jesus as our King: his rule of love transforms sin into grace, death into resurrection, fear into trust.
It would mean very little, however, if we believed Jesus was King of the universe, but did not make him Lord of our lives: all this is empty if we do not personally accept Jesus and if we do not also accept his way of being King. The people presented to us in today’s Gospel, however, help us. In addition to Jesus, three figures appear: the people who are looking on, those near the cross, and the criminal crucified next to Jesus.
First, the people: the Gospel says that “the people stood by, watching” (Lk 23:35): no one says a word, no one draws any closer. The people keep their distance, just to see what is happening. They are the same people who were pressing in on Jesus when they needed something, and who now keep their distance. Given the circumstances of our lives and our unfulfilled expectations, we too can be tempted to keep our distance from Jesus’ kingship, to not accept completely the scandal of his humble love, which unsettles and disturbs us. We prefer to remain at the window, to stand apart, rather than draw near and be with him. A people who are holy, however, who have Jesus as their King, are called to follow his way of tangible love; they are called to ask themselves, each one each day: “What does love ask of me, where is it urging me to go? What answer am I giving Jesus with my life?”
There is a second group, which includes various individuals: the leaders of the people, the soldiers and a criminal. They all mock Jesus. They provoke him in the same way: “Save yourself!” (Lk 23:35,37,39). This temptation is worse than that of the people. They tempt Jesus, just as the devil did at the beginning of the Gospel (cf. Lk 4:1-13), to give up reigning as God wills, and instead to reign according to the world’s ways: to come down from the cross and destroy his enemies! If he is God, let him show his power and superiority! This temptation is a direct attack on love: “save yourself” (vv. 37,39); not others, but yourself. Claim triumph for yourself with your power, with your glory, with your victory. It is the most terrible temptation, the first and the last of the Gospel. When confronted with this attack on his very way of being, Jesus does not speak, he does not react. He does not defend himself, he does not try to convince them, he does not mount a defence of his kingship. He continues rather to love; he forgives, he lives this moment of trial according to the Father’s will, certain that love will bear fruit.
In order to receive the kingship of Jesus, we are called to struggle against this temptation, called to fix our gaze on the Crucified One, to become ever more faithful to him. How many times, even among ourselves, do we seek out the comforts and certainties offered by the world. How many times are we tempted to come down from the Cross. The lure of power and success seem an easy, quick way to spread the Gospel; we soon forget how the Kingdom of God works. This Year of Mercy invites us to rediscover the core, to return to what is essential. This time of mercy calls us to look to the true face of our King, the one that shines out at Easter, and to rediscover the youthful, beautiful face of the Church, the face that is radiant when it is welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means but rich in love, on mission. Mercy, which takes us to the heart of the Gospel, urges us to give up habits and practices which may be obstacles to serving the Kingdom of God; mercy urges us to orient ourselves only in the perennial and humble kingship of Jesus, not in submission to the precarious regalities and changing powers of every age.
In the Gospel another person appears, closer to Jesus, the thief who begs him: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (v. 42). This person, simply looking at Jesus, believed in his kingdom. He was not closed in on himself, but rather – with his errors, his sins and his troubles – he turned to Jesus. He asked to be remembered, and he experienced God’s mercy: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). As soon as we give God the chance, he remembers us. He is ready to completely and forever cancel our sin, because his memory – unlike our own – does not record evil that has been done or keep score of injustices experienced. God has no memory of sin, but only of us, of each of us, we who are his beloved children. And he believes that it is always possible to start anew, to raise ourselves up.
Let us also ask for the gift of this open and living memory. Let us ask for the grace of never closing the doors of reconciliation and pardon, but rather of knowing how to go beyond evil and differences, opening every possible pathway of hope. As God believes in us, infinitely beyond any merits we have, so too we are called to instil hope and provide opportunities to others. Because even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us. From the lacerated side of the Risen One until the very end of time flow mercy, consolation and hope.
So many pilgrims have crossed the threshold of the Holy Doors, and far away from the clamour of the daily news they have tasted the great goodness of the Lord. We give thanks for this, as we recall how we have received mercy in order to be merciful, in order that we too may become instruments of mercy. Let us go forward on this road together. May our Blessed Lady accompany us, she who was also close to the Cross, she who gave birth to us there as the tender Mother of the Church, who desires to gather all under her mantle. Beneath the Cross, she saw the good thief receive pardon, and she took Jesus’ disciple as her son. She is Mother of Mercy, to whom we entrust ourselves: every situation we are in, every prayer we make, when lifted up to his merciful eyes, will find an answer.

….
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/11/20/pope_full_text_of_homily_for_solemnity_of_christ_the_king/1273568

Pope Francis dismisses critics of his teachings

Image result for pope critics amoris

David Gibson Religion News Service | Nov. 18, 2016

Vatican City — Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that “they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”

The pontiff’s lengthy interview in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.

The four say that focusing on ministering to people in their particular circumstances is eroding the church’s doctrinal absolutes and that Francis must dispel any ambiguities or face serious consequences.

The four critics, led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Rome-based prelate and longtime opponent of the pontiff’s policies, had written privately to Francis in September.

They asked the pontiff to state whether passages in a landmark document on ministering to families that he had issued in April could be interpreted to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases.

Joy-of-the-Family-Guide.jpgExplore Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family. Download our free study guide.

On Monday, the cardinals went public with the letter because they learned that Francis was not going to respond to their demands that he answer five specific questions about the document, an exhortation called Amoris Laetitia, or “The Joy of Love.”

The cardinals said he had to answer their questions in order to clear up their doubts about whether the document undermined the church’s teaching on sin and the permanence of marriage.

Then in an interview published Tuesday in the National Catholic Register, Burke raised the stakes by saying that if Francis did not offer a clarification, the next step would be to make “a formal act of correction of a serious error” — a phrase that some believe is tantamount to accusing the pope of heresy.

Avvenire’s interview with Francis focused largely on ecumenism and Catholicism’s relations with other churches.

But the pope also took the opportunity to push back against his critics — he did not name them — who view the faith through the lens of “a certain legalism, which can be ideological.”

“Some people — I am thinking of certain responses to Amoris Laetitia — continue to misunderstand,” Francis said. “It’s either black or white [to them], even if in the flow of life you have to discern.”

Asked about critics who accuse the pope of “Protestantizing” the Catholic church — an objection often raised by conservative Catholics in the U.S. — Francis said, “I don’t lose sleep over it.”

He insisted that he is following the model of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that set the church on a path to internal reform and greater engagement with the world.

“As for opinions of others,” he said, “we always have to distinguish the spirit in which they are given. When not given in bad faith, they help with the way forward. Other times you see right away that the critics pick bits from here and there to justify a pre-existing viewpoint; they are not honest, they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”

“You see right away that a certain ‘rigorism’ is born out of a lack of something, from a desire to hide inside the armor of one’s own sad dissatisfaction,” he said.

The papal document Amoris Laetitia was Francis’ summation of two extraordinary Vatican meetings of the world’s bishops, held in 2014 and 2015, that sought to reorient the church’s approach away from a focus on doctrinal formulations and the reiteration of rules and toward accompanying people in difficult or unusual circumstances.

But the document has become a flashpoint for an increasingly open struggle between old guard hard-liners and supporters of Francis.

One of the three American prelates that Francis is to elevate to the rank of cardinal on Saturday — along with 14 other churchmen — pushed back against Burke’s campaign in unusually strong language, calling the effort “troublesome.”

Cardinal-designate Joseph Tobin, who is going to head the Archdiocese of Newark, told The Tablet of London that Amoris Laetitia cannot simply be reduced to a question of ‘yes or no’ in a specific pastoral situation.”

He said that the challenge by the four cardinals “is at best naive.”

Related stories:
•Four cardinals openly challenge Francis over ‘Amoris Laetitia’
•Bishops need shared approach to ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ new cardinal says
•New Cardinal Farrell: Amoris Laetitia is ‘the Holy Spirit speaking’
•Little attention paid to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ at bishops’ fall meeting
•US Church must become agent of healing post-trump, says Cardinal-elect Tobin (see second half of story)

….

Taken from: https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-francis-dismisses-critics-his-teachings

Pope Francis: the Church’s mercy is for everyone

By Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2016 / 09:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims about how the mercy of God is for everyone, and how through the Church, we are all called to embrace and include everyone in the Body of Christ.
“The Gospel calls us to recognize in the history of humanity the design of a great work of inclusion, which fully respects the freedom of every person, every community, every people,” the Pope said Nov. 12.
And “calls everyone to form a family of brothers and sisters, in justice, solidarity and peace, and to be part of the Church, which is the body of Christ.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the final special general audience for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The extra audiences have been held once a month in addition to the Pope’s weekly audience for the duration of the Jubilee, which officially ends Nov. 20.
At the audience, the Pope’s catechesis centered on the “universal invitation” found in the words of Jesus in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
“No one is excluded from this call,” he said, “because the mission of Jesus is to reveal to everyone the Father’s love.” It is “up to us to open our hearts, trust in Jesus and accept this message of love, which makes us enter into the mystery of salvation.”
Reflecting on the Body of Christ as it is depicted on the crucifix, the Pope noted how Christ’s arms are “outstretched on the cross” showing that “no one is excluded from his love and his mercy.”
“How true are the words of Jesus who invites those who are tired and weary to come to Him to find rest!” he said.
How many weary and oppressed people we meet every day, in our neighborhood, at our school, at the doctor’s office, Francis continued. It is through our eyes that the gaze of Jesus “rests on each one of those faces.”
Pointing to the colonnades which surround St. Peter’s Square, The Pope explained how even the square was a visible representation of what the Church should be, an expression of Christ’s “embrace.”
Just as God includes and welcomes us through his forgiveness, we “all need to meet brothers and sisters to help us to go to Jesus, to open ourselves to the gift he has given us on the cross.”
“We do not exclude anyone!” he emphasized. “For God, in his plan of love, he does not want to exclude anyone, but wants to include everyone.”
It is through our Baptism that God makes us all his children in Christ and members of his body the Church, the Pope noted, “and we Christians are encouraged to use the same criteria.”
“Mercy is the way you act,” he said, it is the way in which we incorporate our lives with the lives of others, avoiding closing in on ourselves and our own “selfish securities.”
This aspect of mercy is manifested in the open arms of the Church, “open wide to welcome,” not exclude, he continued. The Church does not classify others “according to social status, language, race, culture, religion.”
“In front of us there is only one person to love as God loves.”
Let us all participate in this inclusion, being witnesses of the same mercy with which God “has accepted and welcomed all of us,” he said.
“In fact, with humility and simplicity let’s be instruments of inclusive mercy of the Father.” Just as our Holy Mother Church “prolongs in the world the great embrace of Christ dead and risen.”

….
Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-the-churchs-mercy-is-for-everyone-46009/

Pope Francis reiterates a strong ‘no’ to women priests

Image result for no women priests

By Hannah Brockhaus

During a press conference Tuesday aboard the papal plane from Sweden to Rome, Pope Francis said the issue of women priests has been clearly decided, while also clarifying the essential role of women in the Catholic Church.
“On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the final word is clear, it was said by St. John Paul II and this remains,” Pope Francis told journalists Nov. 1.
The question concerning women priests in the Catholic Church was asked during the flight back to Rome after the Pope’s Oct. 31-Nov. 1 trip to Sweden to participate in a joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
While there, the Pope participated in ecumenical events alongside Swedish Lutheran and Catholic leaders, including the first female Lutheran archbishop in Sweden, Antje Jackelén. She is the head of the Church of Sweden, the largest denomination of Lutheranism in Europe.
After stating that the issue of female ordination is closed, the Pope added that women are very important to the Church, specifically from a “Marian dimension.”
“In Catholic ecclesiology there are two dimensions to think about,” he said. “The Petrine dimension, which is from the Apostle Peter, and the Apostolic College, which is the pastoral activity of the bishops, as well as the Marian dimension, which is the feminine dimension of the Church.”
Pointing out that the Holy Mother Church “is a woman,” Francis said that the “spousal mystery” of the Church as the spouse of Christ can help us to understand these two dimensions.
“I ask myself: who is most important in theology and in the mysticism of the Church: the apostles or Mary on the day of Pentecost? It’s Mary!” he said.
The Church “doesn’t exist” without this feminine dimension, or “maternity,” the Pope said, because the Church herself is feminine.
Pope Francis did express that he thinks women “can do so many things better than men, even in the dogmatic field,” but he clarified how it is still a separate dimension from that of priests and bishops in the Petrine dimension.
From the beginning of his papacy, Francis has been clear on the issue of women priests, while still emphasizing the unique and important role of women in the Church.
In a press conference returning from Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5, 2013, he answered the same question: “with reference to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says, ‘No.’ John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That is closed, that door.”
He said that on the theology of woman he felt there was a “lack of a theological development,” which could be developed better. “You cannot be limited to the fact of being an altar server or the president of Caritas, the catechist … No! It must be more, but profoundly more, also mystically more.”
On his return flight from Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 28, 2015, the Pope again said that women priests “cannot be done,” and reiterated that a theology of women needs to “move ahead.”
“Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly,” that female ordination is not possible, he said.
Among concerns surrounding the Pope’s trip to Sweden, and the hope for continued progress on the path to communion between Lutherans and Catholics, was the issue of female ordination.
This is alongside other social and ethical issues, such as homosexuality and abortion, which are points of division not only between Catholics and Lutherans, but also within the global Lutheran community.

….
http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=14514

Pope who turned his back on Hitler

Image result for pope pius xi

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

“The children of Fatima warned us that Our Lady foretold if the people did not repent, a greater war than World War I would follow, under the reign of Pope Pius XI, after a strange light in the night sky over Europe”.

  

 

Introduction

 

Moses’s invitations and warnings to the Israelites – indeed, to all of us – were conditional, preceded by, respectively, “If …” (Hebrew: אִם), and: “If not …” (Hebrew:אִם-לֹא ).

Thus, for instance, Deuteronomy 28:1-2: “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God …”.

The manifold blessings consequent to this obedience are then listed (vv. 3-14).

“However” (28:15), “if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you …”.

There then follows a long list of the most horrifying curses (vv. 16-68).

 

But a hard-hearted Pharaoh and his minions, and the ‘iron furnace’ of Egyptian oppression (Deuteronomy 4:20): “But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are”, were only pale foreshadowings of the terrible eschatological reality of a miserific Devil and his demons, and eternal servitude in the fires of Hell (one of the Fatima visions).

 

 

Pius XI and the ‘Strange Light’

 

The modern message of Fatima (which is, in its essence, an ancient biblical one) is structured along Mosaïc lines, “If” and “If not”. It is very much to the point (July 13, 1917):

 

‘If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will suffer martyrdom; the Holy Father will suffer much; different nations will be annihilated’.

 

‘If only you knew the things that make for peace’ (Luke 19:42).

Well, for we who live in the Fatima Era (which will turn 100 next year: 2017), it has been spelled out for us. The bottom line is Obedience to the Will of God!

Either that, or, for instance, the terrible Second World War. By then, according to the following piece, “the Fatima prophecies cease to be conditional”.

http://catholicknight.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/chastisement-now.html

 

…. The children of Fatima warned us that Our Lady foretold if the people did not repent, a greater war than World War I would follow, under the reign of Pope Pius XI, after a strange light in the night sky over Europe.

On January 25th 1938, during the reign of Pope Pius XI, a solar storm produced an Aurora Borealis that was seen all over Europe and North America — as far south as California in the United States.

These lights were seen by Hitler himself and he took it as a “sign” to begin his war plans.

On February 4th 1938, less than two weeks after the aurora was seen by the world, Hitler promoted himself to military chief in Germany.

A month later he marched his army into Austria.

This was one of the early aggressions that started World War II. At that point the Fatima prophecies cease to be conditional. ….

[End of quote]

 

http://www.bibleprobe.com/fatimavisionsofhell.htm

 

Of interest in this regard, “on January 25, 1938, a remarkable display of aurora borealis was visible across Europe, the year before World War II began.” The book, The Secrets of Fatima elaborates: “This aurora appeared as far south as Galicia, Spain, where Sister Lucy was then cloistered, and she, the only survivor of the three Fatima shepherds, recognized it immediately as the sign. Visible even to Pius XI in Rome, the unprecedented aurora was accompanied by a ‘crackling’ sound, possibly attributable to discharges of atmospheric energy. Indeed, in many areas of Europe, panic broke out, as the populace concluded that the world was on fire and that the End had come.”

 [End of quote]

 

Pius XI and Hitler

————————————————————

“Spiritually”, the pope said, “we are all Semites”.

————————————————————

This next piece has been taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-eisner/popes-last-crusade_b_3071556.html

 

Pope Pius XI’s Last Crusade

….

 

When people think of the Vatican and World War II, they think immediately of Pius XII, the controversial pontiff between 1939 and 1958. But before him, there was a little-remembered pope, Pope Pius XI, who was loudly outspoken against the Nazis and was determined to call the world’s attention to their atrocities. “The Pope’s Last Crusade” tells that story, along with that of the pope’s partnership with an American Jesuit, which breaks new ground about war-time conspiracies within the Vatican.

Pope Pius XI had left the Vatican in late April 1938, earlier than usual for his summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo. He intended it to be an obvious snub directed at Adolf Hitler who was meeting the first week in May with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.

The pope rejected being present while the “crooked cross of neo-paganism” flew over Rome. Hitler’s anti-Semitic campaign had become the pope’s great preoccupation.

Many scholars think that Pius XI’s crusade against Hitler, which took place in the last months of his life, could have changed course of events, possibly even the severity of later atrocities against the Jews.

As the Nazis increased their threats in their march toward war, the pope realized that it might at that moment be the Jews, but then it would be the Catholics and finally the world. He could see that the Nazis would stop at nothing less than world domination.

Pius had few allies at the Vatican, where many even believed that Communism was a greater danger than Fascism. Therefore, many prelates thought, the enemy of their Communist enemy must be their friend.

But Pius saw Hitler as an insane presence in the world and had been searching for a means of applying pressure and rallying international leaders against Nazism. It would not be easy. He was 82 years old and increasingly ill. At the same time, powerful cardinals and bishops around him feared the pope’s activism against Hitler. In particular, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, counseled caution in challenging Hitler and Mussolini. Pacelli eventually would … succeed Pius XI.

The pope, undeterred, reached out for help beyond the walls of the Vatican, seeking out an American Jesuit journalist, John LaFarge, who had just come to Italy. LaFarge had just written a book, “Interracial Justice,” which portrayed the lives of American blacks who lived in the poorest strata of society. While LaFarge defended African Americans against the myth of racial superiority, the concept applies, he wrote, “to all races and conditions of men … all tribes and races, Jew and Gentile alike…” (Twenty-five years later, in 1963, LaFarge stood with his friend Martin Luther King at the March on Washington.)

The pope summoned LaFarge to Castel Gandolfo on June 25, 1938. The American priest was shocked that the pope even knew his name. Pius told LaFarge he was to write an encyclical that would use the same reasoning he employed when discussing racism in the United States. It was to be the strongest statement ever made by the Vatican, in defense of the Jews and rejecting the Nazi doctrine of anti-Semitism.

Sworn to silence, LaFarge took up the papal assignment clandestinely in Paris. The pope’s directive, however, had thrown LaFarge into the hazy realm of Vatican politics. The leader of the Jesuit order worldwide, Wlodimir Ledochowski, promised the pope and LaFarge that he would facilitate production of the encyclical. Privately, Ledochowski, an anti-Semite, conspired to block LaFarge at every turn.

In late September 1938, after about three months of work, LaFarge traveled to Rome with his papal mission complete. His superior, Ledochowski, welcomed him and promised to deliver the encyclical right away to the pope. He dismissed LaFarge and directed him to return home to the United States. Ledochowski did take care of the speech — by burying it for months in Vatican bureaucracy.

The pontiff, unaware of these machinations, was stepping up his criticism of … Hitler, and Mussolini. He criticized Mussolini’s imitation of systematic attacks on Jews in Germany and Austria. As in Germany, Jews in Italy were banned from attending school, from holding public positions or serving as doctors, lawyers and in other professional functions. Pius XI condemned these actions.

“Spiritually,” the pope said, “we are all Semites.”

In the fall of 1938, LaFarge realized finally that the pope still had not received the encyclical. He wrote a letter directly to the pope, implying that Ledochowski had the document in hand for months already. Pius XI demanded delivery, but did not receive it until Jan. 21, 1939 with a note from Ledochowski, who warned that the language of the document appeared to be excessive. He advised caution.

The pope, finally with LaFarge’s text, planned immediately to issue the encyclical after a meeting with bishops on Feb. 11, in which he would condemn fascism. He worked on that speech on his own, jotting down ideas, rewriting and editing it by hand. Rumors, meanwhile, had reached Mussolini that the pope might be planning to excommunicate him or even Hitler, also a Catholic, a blow that could actually damage their popular power base.

Pius XI died on Feb. 10, 1939, a day before his planned speech. Vatican doctors said he had suffered complications of a heart attack, and despite administering stimulants, they had been unable to revive him.

Bishops in some quarters grumbled about the circumstances of his death and questioned the kind of stimulants he had been given in an attempt to revive him. Cardinal Eugene Tisserant of France, the pope’s best friend and a former French intelligence officer, wrote in his diary that the pope had been murdered.

Pacelli, the secretary of state, became Pius XII, and the Vatican immediately toned down its vocal protests against Hitler and Mussolini. One historian, Conor Cruise O’Brien, the noted Irish writer and politician, in 1989 said that those months in 1938 were crucial as Hitler measured how the world would react to his campaign against the Jews.

“Had Pius XI been able to deliver the encyclical he planned, the green light would have changed to red. The Catholic Church in Germany would have been obliged to speak out against the persecution of the Jews. Many Protestants, inside and outside Germany, would have likely to follow its example.”

How effective Pius XI’s efforts might have been can never be known. It was only clear that he took a stance in favor of absolute morality and defended to his last breath his principles of decency and humanity, nothing more, nothing less. ….

 

 

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Image may contain: 1 person , text

This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs.
It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows.
It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness.
An abyss of mercy for the wretched.
An abyss of love to meet our every need.
 
– St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
 
 

Church Undergoing Test of Prophet Job

ST MICHAEL FEAST DAY SEPT 29

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Satan, permitted by God to test holy Job to the limit, and almost beyond it, for a greater good, has been allowed by the Almighty again, in the case of the Church, that same terrifying liberty.

 

Introduction

 

Job was a much older contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, with whom he shares many noble characteristics.

The Book of Jeremiah (and Lamentations) is regarded by scholars as being the scriptural book most close in style to the Book of Job. For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Jeremiah “Jeremiah’s “confessions” are a type of individual lament. Such laments are found elsewhere in the psalms and the Book of Job. Like Job, Jeremiah curses the day of his birth (Jer. 20:14–18 and Job 3:3–10)”.

And, https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-major-prophets/lamentations “Like the book of Job, Lamentations pictures a man of God puzzling over the results of evil and suffering in the world. However, while Job dealt with unexplained evil, Jeremiah lamented a tragedy entirely of Jerusalem’s making”.

Jeremiah, in his many sufferings, deprivations and life-threatening circumstances – and perhaps Job as well – seems to have unwittingly pantomimed, in his own person, the variety of horrors that the kingdom of Judah was shortly destined to experience.

In the case of Job, the archetypal man of affliction, he would foreshadow a modern drama of such cosmic proportions that the ancient holy man himself could not have anticipated it. On the eve of the C20th AD, Satan, once chained so that “he could not fool the nations anymore” (Revelation 20:1-3), but now “free for a while”, was right back in the mix again as in Job 1:6-7: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it’.”

We are now in the year 1884, and Pope Leo XIII is the head of the Catholic Church. And this time it is the Church, the ‘Bride of Christ’ (Ephesians 5:25–27), and not the righteous Job, that the Lord will hold up as a model of holy excellence before Satan.

 

The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII

 

Since an article of this same title covers most of what I want to say about this dramatic incident, I shall reproduce the main part of it below. Before that, however, I should like briefly to mention a recent and well-researched book on the subject, written by Kevin J. Symonds, as a useful supplement to this article. The book is entitled, Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael (2015), and is here reviewed by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor, Wyoming Catholic College

https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Leo-XIII-Prayer-Michael/dp/0984013962

 

This book is not another pious exhortation to recite the Leonine prayers, although the author certainly agrees that they ought to be prayed, as do I. Rather, it is a detailed look at the history of the composition of the well-known Prayer to St. Michael and the exorcism connected with it, and especially the legends that surround these texts. Depending on the period or the author, these legends have been either too uncritically accepted (and embellished), or too hastily dismissed as sensational fabrications. With the care of an historian and the determination of a detective, Symonds shows that the reality is quite a bit more complex. It’s an intriguing book that brings the reader close to Leo XIII and his age, while equipping us better for “wrestling against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph 6:12). The appendices offer an array of unusual and valuable texts. All in all, a definitive work on the Prayer to St. Michael.

 

 

 

Now, according to “The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII”, which has not missed out on the Job-ian parallel, as we shall read further on

http://unveilingtheapocalypse.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/prophecy-of-pope-leo-xiii.html

 

The St. Michael Prayer, which was said after Low Mass until the liturgical changes in 1965, was instituted by Pope Leo XIII after he received a prophetic vision. The most widely known element of this vision is that the Holy Father overheard a debate between Our Lord and Satan, during which the Devil was granted more power and authority for a period of 75 to 100 years. According to the most widespread accounts, the events behind the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII run as following:

On October 13, 1884, after Pope Leo XIII had finished celebrating Mass in the Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:

The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasting to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church” The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”

Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”

Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?

Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.” Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

Current research suggests that the earliest version of this story to appear in print was in 1933, in a German Sunday newspaper. The way in which this prophecy first surfaced suggests that it originally circulated in oral form amongst the Vatican staff and hierarchy who were with the pope during this encounter. As such, it is impossible to trace back to an original documented source. After its initial publication in 1933, a German writer, Fr. Bers, attempted to find the origins of this prophecy for a 1934 article titled “Die Gebete nach der hl. Messe” (Theol-Prakt. Quartalschrift 87, 162-163). During his investigation, Fr. Bers failed to find any concrete source, leaving him to conclude that the prophecy was a later invention that was “spreading like a virus”. However, 13 years after Fr. Bers had initially failed to find the original source of this prophecy, an eyewitness to the events behind the institution of the St. Michael Prayer eventually came forward. Writing in 1947, Fr. Domenico Pechenino, a priest who worked at the Vatican during the time of Leo XIII, provides a first-hand account of these events:

 

I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

(Fr. Domenico Pechenino, quoted in the 1955 Roman journal Ephemerides Liturgicae V. LXIX, pp 54–60)

Although he leaves out any mention of Pope Leo hearing a conversation between God and the Devil, and the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan’s greater power, the fact that it was written 14 years after the original version of this prophecy first appeared in print would suggest that Fr Pechenino presumes that readers are already aware of the contents of the prophecy, and is merely writing to confirm what he saw that day. Fr. Bers had noted in 1934 that this prophecy was already in wide circulation, and was “spreading like a virus”, so it was certainly well-known by the time Fr. Pechenino was providing his eyewitness testimony, and we can be sure that he was aware of it. It seems that the real reason Fr. Pechenino leaves out any mention of the 100 years element of this vision is due to the simple fact that he did not actually hear or see the vision himself, but was rather relating how he witnessed Pope Leo experiencing this event. Given that Fr. Pechenino is recalling these events solely as an observer, he could not have possibly known the content of the vision at this time, since by his own admission, the Holy Father did not reveal to him exactly what he saw or heard. He only knew that the Pope had composed the St. Michael Prayer immediately after this episode ….

 

Mackey’s comment: I insert the following here:

The fact that Fr. Pechenino’s account confirms the later 1933 version, can be used to establish that the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan’s greater power is in fact genuine. If we compare both texts above, we can see that Fr Pechenino’s testimony concurs almost exactly with the original version of the story behind the prophecy. The only difference is that Fr. Pechenino was not told exactly what Pope Leo experienced during this vision, which suggests that the Holy Father confided what he saw to someone else – the retinue who Fr. Pechenino saw following the pope afterwards and was questioning him. Being a member of his personal entourage, the retinue would have been a close confidant of the pope, and the details of the vision were probably given to him. This would make the retinue the most likely source of this prophecy, and how it was circulated in the Vatican.

But when should this 100 year period be calculated from? Most interpreters think that the hundred years referred to the 20th century, and some later versions of this prophecy explicitly state this view. While the original version doesn’t mention a specific starting point, there are only two real options – either the year the vision was first received, which according to the first account was 1884, or the turn of the century. It seems the latter position is the most likely, since in what he himself described as the “greatest act of my pontificate”, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11th 1899, as requested by Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart (see here). Since this was obviously a date of utmost importance to the pontiff, and it commenced at a symbolically significant turning point (the end of the century), it would be logical to assume that the dawn of the 20th century was the beginning of the 100 years allotted to Satan.

 

…. In Matt 12:29, Christ tells us that in order for Him to plunder the worldly realm of Satan and open the eyes of unbelievers to the Gospel, He would first have to “bind the strong man”. Although evil still exists during this period, and Satan can still interfere with human affairs, his power would be limited in order to facilitate the growth of the Gospel. As the Catechism teaches, even though Satan was definitively defeated by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, the reign of Christ’s kingdom on earth in the Church will always be subject to the attacks of evil powers until the creation of the new heaven and the new earth after the Last Judgement:

Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” (CCC 671)

The Book of Revelation tells us that this “millennium” or age of the Church will come to a close towards the end of the world, when Satan would once again be set loose for “a little while” to deceive the inhabitants of the earth, and gather the nations together for war. During this age of apostasy, Satan would once again have the power to blind the minds of unbelievers from the light of the Gospel, and would be able to inhibit its growth. And given that this is exactly the situation we are faced with today in the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Great Apostasy, we can only be left to conclude that the “millennium”, or age of the Church has already came to end, and that the forces of Satan have already been unbound. The Apocalypse tells us that once the forces of hell have been unleashed at the end of the “thousand years”, they will gather the nations together for war, and surround the Heavenly Jerusalem, which represents the Church:

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city… (Rev 20:7-9)

As St. Augustine elaborates:

The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be—and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies…

(City of God, XX:11)

Mackey’s comment: At this point, the article introduces the Book of Job connection:

 

During this “little while” at the end of the “thousand years”, Satan would be granted a period of greater power, much like in the Book of Job.  Indeed the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII directly bases itself on the story of Job in the Old Testament. Here, Satan is granted greater power over Job, God’s faithful servant, in order to test his level of faith. While Satan believes that he will be able to make Job turn his back on God by heaping atrocities upon him, the Heavenly Father is certain that Job will remain faithful in patient suffering. Job then has to endure a series of trials inflicted upon him at the hand of Satan, in order to prove his faithfulness to God. But in the vision of Leo XIII, the Church itself takes the place of Job.

During this new “trial of Job”, Satan uses the increase in lawlessness (in the horrors of war and genocide) in an attempt to destroy peoples’ faith in God, making the love of many grow cold. And in the light of the general apostasy which followed the horrors of the two World Wars and the genocides of the 20th century, it seems that this tactic has paid off spectacularly. Which isn’t at all surprising, given the fact that the exposition of the philosophical problem of evil is one of the primary weapons of modern atheism. Once the “thousand years” were over, the forces of evil really did surround the City of God, and the Church is still being besieged by the modern secular values espoused in the principles of Freemasonry.

So if the “millennium” or age of the Church really did end at the turn of the 20th century, as is suggested by the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and indeed the actual unfolding of world events, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse is directly related to the two world wars. Turning back to the Book of Revelation, we find an earlier parallel reference to Satan being unbound from his prison in Rev 20, which is to be directly equated with the opening of the abyss in Rev 9. These two passages undoubtedly refer to the exact same event ….

 

….