The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

Follow Sunlit Uplands by E-Mail

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

And Our Kid of the Year 2017 Award Goes To ...

If the Dubia Go Unanswered, the Consequences Could Be Catastrophic

From The Catholic Herald (UK)
By Father

It is dangerous to the credibility of the Church, that what should be considered good in Germany should be considered wrong in Poland

The Four Cardinals show no sign of giving up, and neither should they. It might at this point be useful to present a chronology of the Four Cardinals and the dubia. It goes like this.
  • On 19th September 2016, four Cardinals – Caffarra, Burk, Brandmueller and Meisner – present 5 dubia or requests for clarification to the Pope concerning certain ambiguities in Amoris Laetitia.

  • On 19th November 2016, having received no answer, the four Cardinals publish their dubia.

  • On April 25th 2017, the four Cardinals write to the Pope asking for an audience, enclosing an “audience sheet” setting down what they wish to discuss with him.

  • On June 19th 2017, the letter of the four Cardinals, which has received no response, is published.

So what is going on here? It is really very simple. The Pope does not want to answer the five dubia, all of which are simple yes or no answers. The reason for this is equally simple. If the Pope answers one way, he contradicts the Magisterium of his predecessors. If he answers another way, he effectively destroys what he has tried to do with Amoris Laetitia, that is, introduce a change of practice in the Church which per se means a change of doctrine. So, the Pope continues to sit on the fence, trying to have it both ways, while the four Cardinals try to push him off it, one way or another, hoping, or knowing, that if forced off the fence there is only one possible way for him to jump.

Interestingly, by refusing to answer the dubia, the Pope has in a certain sense given an answer of sorts. His refusal to answer effectively means that he is not endorsing, at least not officially, the guidelines of the Maltese bishops and others. What the Maltese bishops say remains a local pronouncement, not official Church teaching, even if it may have been published in the Osservatore Romano. What the Maltese bishops teach in their guidelines can be nullified by the Pope or his successors in the Chair of Peter.

But here we run into the chief concern of the Four Cardinals. It is confusing, indeed more than confusing, it is intolerable, for it is dangerous to the credibility of the Church, that what should be considered good in Germany should be considered wrong in Poland. This is not Catholicism, it is rather national churches on the Anglican or Orthodox model. If this ambiguity is allowed to continue, the consequences will be catastrophic.

Furthermore, it simply cannot be the case, for it has never been the case before, that one Pope can contradict the Magisterium of his predecessors. Amoris Laetitia has to be read in continuity with Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor. If it somehow “replaces” Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor, are people like me, whose teaching in seminary was based on those two documents, now to “unlearn” them? Have they been corrected? Were they for a time only? Or were they of permanent significance? But if Amoris Laetitia is to replace the previous magisterial documents, then what may replace Amoris Laetitia twenty years from now?

As the dubia make clear, one interpretation of Amoris Laetitia strikes at the heart of Catholic moral teaching as everywhere and always understood. In a sense there can only be one answer to the dubia, and that is that the traditional teaching must stand, and that Amoris Laetitia must be read in the light of that teaching alone.

Anyone who has been reading what I have written on this subject knows by now that I stand with the four Cardinals. So do many others, Cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and laity.

Holy Father, answer the dubia! For the good of the Church, and for the good of the papal office, please answer the dubia!


Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest, doctor of moral theology and consulting editor of The Catholic Herald. On Twitter he is @ALucieSmith

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Father Rutler: Persistence in Truth

Fr. George Rutler
The legend of King Robert the Bruce, exiled from Scotland in a cave off the Irish coast in 1306, resembles a similar story in the Bible about King David when he was a boy. King Robert watched a spider finally manage to make a web after failing in several attempts. Thus the child’s rhyme: “If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.” Our Lord’s parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) is about a poor widow who persisted in getting the judge to hear her case. The refined translation says that the judge wearied of her importuning, but the Greek has the judge fearing that she would punch him. That was a woman who would not give up.

To discourage is to lose heart. It is a trick of the Anti-Christ and the very opposite of Christ who encourages. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The widow in the parable reminds one of the Damas de Blanco—Ladies in White—who are wives and mothers of political prisoners in the gulags of Communist Cuba. Mostly Afro-Cubans, they formed in 2003 to protest the large-scale arrest of their kin who included journalists and human rights activists. From then on, every Sunday, they attend Mass in Havana and then process in white clothing to a park where, despite their peaceful witness, they frequently have been beaten and jailed.

Their persistence has been an embarrassment to many outside Cuba who choose to ignore the devastation wrought by Marxism. Even some leading churchmen indulge the gossamer hope that appeasement will convert evil to good. The Ladies in White were hurt but not thwarted when a U.S. presidential executive order in 2013 lifted sanctions against Cuba, while requiring no reform of its dictatorship. “Peace for our time” was predictably delusional, and political oppression increased: there were 1,095 detainees in 2016, up from 718 in 2015. Our social media applauded the capitulation, its accompanying festivities, and our own government’s “easy speeches” that, as Chesterton said, “comfort cruel men.”

On June 16 in Miami, our President fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a directive imposing sanctions that will not be lifted until Cuba frees political prisoners and holds free elections. He also explicitly mentioned the persistence of the Ladies in White. Berta Soler, a leader of the Ladies in White, whose husband has been serving a twenty-year sentence, replied: “These days, Mr. President, when most of the world responds with a deafening silence to the harassment, arbitrary detentions, beatings, house searches, and robberies against peaceful opponents, human rights activists and defenseless women, your words of encouragement are most welcomed.” It was like the parable of the undaunted widow: “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night?” 

Father Rutler’s book, The Stories of Hymns – The History Behind 100 of Christianity’s Greatest Hymns, is available through Sophia Institute Press (Paperback or eBook) and Amazon (Paperback or Kindle). 

Libera - "O Sanctissima"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Damn it, GOP: Do Something!

By Shari Goodman
Day in and day out, Americans are witnessing the political assassination of President Trump along with continuous verbal and, at times, physical attacks upon conservatives, yet we encounter no visible defense or offense from the GOP. Nada! And we are beginning to wonder why.

President Trump steamrolled his victory train through statehouses across the country, turning once-Democratic states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia from traditional blue to red. Republicans captured 35 state governorships along with the House and Senate. One would think the GOP leadership would be ecstatic and exhibit gratitude to the man who is responsible for such a victory, but instead, the GOP establishment is sitting back with near passivity, much as they did during Obama's administration.

Granted, President Trump was an outsider who had never held office before. Unlike Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, he was not part of the elite Washington Establishment. He came out of nowhere to grab the leadership position normally extended to those who wait in line, play the political game, and abide by the rules established by the political mavericks before them. President Trump did none of that. He saw a vacuum, and he was determined to fill it, and fill it he did.

Instantaneously, the Democratic left declared war upon him, with the Never Trump conservatives not far behind. His primary win was a political earthquake not only for the Democratic left, but for the GOP establishment headed by folks such as Mitt Romney, who were waiting in the wings to re-establish their command of the GOP leadership. However, once Reince Priebus and the GOP reluctantly declared their support for candidate Trump, those of us who had supported him from the start were hopeful for a new beginning of mutual respect. How naive we were!

Since President Trump's election, our president has been under daily siege from within and without. Not a day goes by without an attack by the mainstream media and the press. The attacks range from unfounded accusations of Russian collusion, which have been debunked, to obstruction of justice, since there is no evidence of collusion. The whole scenario is a concocted schizophrenic scheme by the entire left to paralyze the Trump administration's agenda with a mission to impeach and remove President Trump from office.

This seditious plot is organized by Barack Hussein Obama from his compound in D.C. and financed by billionaire George Soros, who favors a one-world government. Obama has boasted of his 30,000-strong OFA (Organizing For Action), with 250 offices throughout the country to resist and persist. In effect, they are organized to resist the will of the people who legally elected President Trump. When President Trump delivered an executive order to ban immigration from seven hotbeds of Islamic terrorism, Obama delivered his orders to resist and obstruct to his henchmen in those 250 urban areas. Likewise, his propaganda arm, the mainstream media and the press, along with Soros Brownshirts (antifa), sprang into action with violent protests while activist Obama-appointed judges nullified the order. Whether it be immigration or health care, the scenario is always the same.

It is illegal to plot the overthrow of our republic, and it boggles the mind why this plot is permitted to continue with impunity. Instead of an investigation into the likes of Obama, Soros, and Hillary Clinton, for numerous criminal activities (using an unsecured server; deletion of thousands of classified emails; pay to play; money-laundering; the sale of 20% of our uranium to Russia; and actual Russian collusion by her campaign manager, John Podesta), special counsel (Robert Mueller) with close personal ties to James Comey, who has admitted leaking classified material, has been assigned to investigate President Trump.

In 2011, John Podesta, while an adviser to Hillary Clinton in the State Department, came onboard a small energy company, Joule, based in Massachusetts. Two months later, a Russian entity by the name of Rusnano put a billion rubles ($35 million) into Podesta's company. It's important to note that Rusnano is not a private company. It is totally funded by the Kremlin. Podesta owned 75,000 shares in Joule, but nowhere did he disclose that during his time spent in the Obama administration. In light of this information, why is the GOP silent? Why are they not calling for an investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Clinton campaign?

Where is the justice? Where is the outrage, and more importantly, where is the GOP? Instead of defending President Trump on national television or in the press, they are deafeningly silent. Not only are they not defending our president, but they are not seeking investigations where evidence of real criminality has taken place. The GOP must not only refute, reject, and defeat the left's contentions of Russia-Trump collusion and obstruction of justice, but also go on the offense and attack Clinton and her cronies for actual and real criminal activity. We hold all three branches of government, but by their silence and timidity, they have yielded power to the Democratic left, who behave as if they were in power.

The GOP may erroneously believe we the people will not notice their lack of action. Perhaps they are banking on putting one of their own into the Oval Office should President Trump be removed, with a return to business as usual. Such an assumption would be a huge mistake. Nearly 63 million of us voted for President Trump, and should he be removed from office, we will view his removal as a personal breach against us. We will not forget their silence, nor will we forgive. It will signal a time to begin a new party – perhaps a Constitutional Party composed of those who have the conviction and courage to stand for the Constitution instead of their own interests.

Americans need to know that the GOP has the president's back. Now, damn it! Do something!


State Opening of Parliament, The Queen's Speech

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father George Rutler: God So Loved the World

Our Lord's admonition that much will be required of those to whom much has been given, applies most vividly to us. We have been given so much in the way of inventions and medicine and comparative wealth, but above all in knowledge of the world around us. No king in his silken bed at Versailles knew the luxury of instant information that we have. "YouTube" gives us access to great music for which the Bourbon monarchs had to summon their court musicians, while we need only press a button on the computer.

I have been listening on YouTube to the choir of Saint Paul's Cathedral in London singing the Victorian John Stainer's setting of John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life." They are the most wondrous and mysterious words ever spoken and have to be sung, for they are a love song. A young man shyly told me that he knelt to propose marriage to the girl he loved, even though he thought she might laugh at him. But in the humility of true love, he meant what he said, and they are now married.

God so loved the world. That means all he has created in the world. I confess that I do not yet share my Creator's affection for all things. For instance, I do not like, let alone love, mosquitoes. Perhaps our Lord sees, through his aesthetic lens, a mathematical symmetry and power of endurance that I will only appreciate during my first years of assimilation in Purgatory. For that matter, I find it hard to like, let alone love, some of the people rambling along 34th Street at a snail's pace, oblivious to those behind them, and speaking loudly and rudely on their cell phones. I am not God, who loves them as I try only feebly to do. He even died for them. And for me.

Jesus became human, but from the perspective of heavenly glory, he might just as easily have become a mosquito. In the divine eye, humans are no more or less attractive than bugs, but God took upon himself the form of a slave (Philippians 2:7) because humans have the unique gift of reciprocating the love that made them. By reflecting that love, through worship and service, we are God's agents in making the world into what he wants it to be.

I am not a mosquito, but that makes no difference to my Creator. In the seventeenth-century words of Samuel Crossman, now accessible on YouTube:
My song is love unknown,
My Saviour's love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

Father Rutler’s book, The Stories of Hymns – The History Behind 100 of Christianity’s Greatest Hymns, is available through Sophia Institute Press (Paperback or eBook) and Amazon (Paperback or Kindle).