Category Archives: Church

Some “Catholics” are not really Catholics

Pope Francis: Some “Catholics” are not really Catholics
By Dr. Jeff Mirus Jun 24, 2014

Considering the subject of my last In Depth Analysis (Speaking clearly about dangerously imperfect communion with the Church), Pope Francis’ statement last Thursday that mobsters are excommunicated calls for additional comment. What did the Pope say, and how is it to be understood?

The key sentence in his homily in Calabria on June 19th is this: “Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.” Our first question, then, must be about the meaning of “this evil road, this road of evil”. The antecedent to which “this evil road” refers is found earlier in the same paragraph:

When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest…. When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence…. The ‘ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia) is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good.

What are we to make of this?
The first thing to notice is that the Pope is here giving a homily to a specific audience. He is not articulating a point of Catholic teaching to the whole Church. The Magisterium is not engaged. We cannot, therefore, leap to the conclusion that Pope Francis is teaching that all who devote themselves to evil are formally excommunicated latae sententiae (that is, as an automatic result of their violation of a particular Church law).

Still less is the Pope pronouncing a sentence of excommunication (ferendae sententiae, that is, by a specifically passed sentence). For Francis describes the condition of these sinners not as an external judgment but as simply being “not in communion with God”. It is perfectly legitimate to assume that by “not in communion with God”, Francis means both not in communion with Christ and not in communion with the Church, for St. Paul’s letters reveal these to be exactly the same thing. But again the Pope appears to be talking about a condition, not a specific sentence, of excommunication.

Imperfect and Severed Communion
In my earlier essay, I wrote:
By a formal repudiation of something essential to the Church’s constitution, communion is wholly severed; membership is lost. Even without a formal repudiation, in any sort of persistent rejection of essential ecclesial authority…communion is at least impaired. It is fractured if not decisively broken; at best, it is rendered incomplete…. With respect to fractured or imperfect or impaired communion, this fracturing may be recognized as a complete break by excommunication. When that happens, the situation is clarified and all doubt is removed.

In this homily, Pope Francis is talking about those who are guilty of “adoration of evil and the contempt of common good”. Obviously, adoration of evil alone covers everything, but Francis presumably specifies contempt for the common good to make the human impact clear. From the congregation’s perspective, I suppose, it is one thing for someone to adore evil in the abstract; it is quite another for him to act in evil ways that harm us.

More to the point here, it is obvious that the adoration of evil is an absolutized description of a spiritual state that must inescapably not only fracture but decisively break our communion with Christ and the Church. The Pope does not fear to describe this as the habitual mindset of the Calabrian mafia, though he is also referring to all those who adore evil, which he sees as rooted in the “adoration of money” (cf., 1 Tim 6:10) and, even more fundamentally, in the failure to “adore the Lord”. There is scope for a lifetime of meditation here.

But is Francis therefore arguing that all those who fail to adore God are decisively out of communion with Him? I suspect the answer is yes if we are referring to those who consciously refuse to adore God, thus seriously embracing some evil as a substitute (pride, power, wealth, pleasure, etc.). And certainly there is a broader sense in which people can be very distant from God (though He is obviously never far from us) through their ambivalence toward and neglect of the Good, of which God is the sole source.

Principles and Signs of Separation
In any case, the Pope insists, in this Calabrian homily, that certain commitments are sufficient to create a real break between the soul and God, and therefore a break between the person and the Church. He specifies the decision to be a “mobster” as one of them. This raises a delicate question. Is every mobster living in mortal sin? Well, not necessarily: Mortal sin requires that we both understand the gravity of an evil and consent to it fully. Obviously there could be many mitigating circumstances, from a failure to recognize the evil to a lack of freedom in the position in which one finds oneself.

Yet the Church could make formal excommunication automatic for all mobsters latae sententiae, as she has for all who participate in abortions, or she could excommunicate all mobsters as a class ferendae sententiae. This would be a huge wake-up call even for those (if any) who are not guilty of mortal sin. It would force people to clarify their commitments, to recognize God’s will more clearly, to face reality and make a decisive choice.

However, that is not what Pope Francis was doing in this homily. What he was doing was stating that there are some commitments, choices and actions which either fracture or completely break our communion with Christ, even without a formal sentence of excommunication. He was demonstrating by example that it is not wrong to speak clearly about those who, despite their continued use of the Catholic name, have rebelled against God and ceased to be members of His Church.

“Do Not be Afraid of Confession”

“Confession is a reality check when I recognise how far I still have to go in the Christian life and receive the grace to go forward.”
London, March 07, 2014 (

A Lenten Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England, to be read at Mass in all churches and chapels of the Diocese on the First Sunday of Lent, 9th March 2014:

My dear brothers and sisters, “I would like to ask you – but don’t say it aloud, everyone respond in his or her heart: when was the last time you made your Confession?” This is the question Pope Francis has recently put to us. The Holy Father continued: “Everyone think about it …” is it “two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years?”… And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is more benevolent than priests, Jesus receives you, he receives you with much love.

Be courageous and go to Confession!” (General Audience of the Holy Father, 19th February 2014). This is the call of Pope Francis which I wish to echo at the beginning of Lent in this year which we have dedicated in the Diocese to peace and reconciliation (Pastoral Letter for Peace Sunday 19th January 2014).

For more of this article
Go to: Good confession – Catholics Come Home

Theologians at the United Nations


With my comments in italic

The U.N.’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, based in Geneva, scorches the Vatican for its transfers of errant — and in many cases, criminal — priests from one parish to another, in some cases giving a predator a virgin field for exploiting rapacious lust.

The parish environment is a sanctuary for some priests who, “by design,” find shelter under the cover of the Church to fulfill their desire to contact and prey on the most vulnerable—the children. How can the Church be aware of every man’s dedication and desire. The seminaries do the best job they can.

There’s little the Vatican can say about the scandal of its priests except to say it’s sorry, and the Roman church has done that. More than that, the Vatican has taken some steps to make sure that scandal will be resolved and certain amends made. But there’s a lot more to do, as the Vatican concedes.
If Pope Francis wants a few pointers on how to resolve this scandal permanently, I could offer the obvious tips. If priests must suppress the most compelling of natural or human instincts.
Rome will continue to recruit a large number of undesirables, men who are constitutionally unable to live up to the teachings of the church, no matter how hard they try.
The cruel irony is that little boys, struggling through the tender years of childhood, will suffer most. That’s not what Christian teaching is about, and the pedophile scandal hurts every Christian congregation, Catholic and Protestant alike. A priest, like every man, needs the civilizing influence of a woman.

The Meaning here is, every man needs the civilized influence of a mother.

Case in point about mothers: I have a brother and a sister. My mother was, I believe, neurotic and fringe-psychosis. My brother, in his boyhood, suffered under her an exposure-dominated relationship. The result of which led him to have, mentally, an unhealthy attitude of how he was to act. He never received professional help. Eventually he found an escape by going in the seminary; the shelter he was looking for failed and he was turned away. That setback caused him to loose his faith in the Church and then he quickly married a woman who also had a unhealthy relationship, but with her father. The marriage was traumatic—he continued to expose his ill behavior. Now my tormented brother is 80 and in a nursing home with dementia and unresponsive. Need I say more.

“The [U.N.] committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed,” But the U.N. criticizes the Vatican for its “attitudes” on homosexuality, contraception and abortion, and piously says it should change its doctrines to make sure the rights of children, and their access to health care, are not abridged.

The U.N. is acting hypocritical by accusing the Church. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has not acknowledged its own crime, the promotion of abortion—the loss of countless unborn children.

The U.N. is obviously less concerned about the children than about taking shots at one of the important institutions of Western culture.

Pedophilia is a crime with neither justification nor defense, and neither are honor killings, female genital mutilation, gassing of children or recruiting children to fight wars that entertain imams and ayatollahs in certain benighted precincts of the Middle East. Where is the outrage?
Where is the outrage over the fact that Saudi Arabia, Syria and Uganda, where some of the worst crimes occur, have been members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child?

The theologians at the U.N. could instruct, with the firmness and passion it seeks to instruct Rome about changing its doctrines on homosexuality and abortion, that every man and every woman have the God-given right to decide for themselves what to believe, or whether to believe at all, and to change beliefs whenever it suits without worrying about the official goon and his beheading knife.
The religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and indeed of any faith, is nobody else’s business unless or until it violates secular law. The children of the world deserve better than lives as pawns in a sordid political game.

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“The early biographies of Francis tell us that he used the TAU very often as an expression of his devotion to the Cross of Jesus. The TAU was also spoken of at the IV Lateran Council by Pope Innocent M.” It is recorded: “The person who bears on his forehead the sign of the TAU shows in his way of life the splendour of the Cross -, who bears the TAU has crucified the flesh with its vices and sins; who bears the TAU affirms by this: in nothing else do I wish to glory except in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ… Who bears the TAU will find mercy, in this, sign of a life converted and renewed in Christ… Therefore, be ye champions of the TAU and of the Cross!”

“Obedient to the call of the Pope, Francis signed himself with the TAU of penance. It would be his favorite symbol reminding him and his friars of their vocation to preach penance and conversion to Christ. This would be the Crusade of St. Francis, a crusade not of armed soldiers to recover Jerusalem, but a crusade of penitent men from Assisi to preach to everyone: ‘Do penance… be converted and bring forth fruits worthy of penance.'”


This coat of arms has been the symbol of the Franciscan Order for many centuries. The image of the two crossed arms, each with a nail wound in the hand represent both Christ and St. Francis who received the Stigmata (the wounds of Christ) in his body two years before he died.
The cross behind the arms is actually the letter ‘T or ‘tau’ which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Francis was very fond of the passage in the prophet Ezekiel (9:4) which refers to the faithful of God all being signed on the forehead with the letter ‘tau’. Francis often signed his letters with this symbol. Pope Innocent III used this image from the prophet Ezekiel for the theme of the opening homily of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215). The Tau became a symbol from the Council for spiritual renewal in the Church. It is thought that Francis was present at this council and used the Tau from that moment on.

The Catholic Church’s résumé

The facts are:

We are members of the oldest Christian religion in the world.

The Catholic Church was founded in the year 33.

We believe in the real body and blood of Christ in our communion.

The next oldest Christian Church is the Lutherans and they have only been around for about 500 years.

The Mormons have only been here since 1829.

In the year 33 there were no hospitals. Today, one out of five people in this country receive their medical care at a Catholic hospital.

In the year 33 there were no schools. Today,the Catholic Church teaches 3 million students a day, in it’s more than than 250 Catholic Colleges and Universities, in its more than 1200 Catholic High Schools and its more than 5000 Catholic grade schools.

Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than any other organization in the world. We should all be proud to be Catholic.      

There are more the 77 million Catholics in this country. It takes an estimated 50 million votes to be elected president. When you go to polls in 2016, I urge you all to vote for those who would oppose abortion, and stand on the side of truth and rightiousness. May you be guided by your moral compass and help to return this great land of which Our Redeemer has so bountifully blessed to the greatness that it once was.      

Want to enter the Mission Field? Take these notes and pass them on to your Catholic as well as Non-Catholic friends. May you all be blessed and touched by the Holy Spirit as you step out in Faith.