Catholic Issues

Should the Vatican Sell its Treasures…

by Steve Ray on February 5, 2018

… to feed the poor?

Geez, I used to say that myself in my former life as a Protestant – when I was an anti-Catholic. Actually, if you added up all wealth and property of the Protestant churches and organizations it would FAR exceed that of the Vatican or all the individual dioceses around the world! Since it is often Protestants who make this challenge, do they ever suggest Protestants should sell all their land, buildings, pastors’ fancy cars and the mega-church $ millions?

Most people don’t realize that most of the Catholic Church’s “wealth” is in property, hospitals, schools, social services and churches. We are the largest health care provider in the world. To learn more about this, watch the fantastic video put out by www.CatholicsComeHome.com here. Click on “Epic Commercial.” This video make me PROUD to be a Catholic!

But, should the Catholic Church sell everything to feed the poor? No, first it shouldn’t and second it can’t. To find out why, read this article from Zenit (provided below). It was written several years ago but it is the same cogent argument and needs to be repeated often.

Pope Cannot Exchange Vatican Treasure for Food: Cardinal Explains Complications of Facebook Proposal

By Jesús Colina

The president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum … commented on the online petition titled “Exchange the Vatican’s Treasures for Food for Africa. Do You Want to Sign a Petition?”

The cardinal noted that, apart from the ideological aspect of the proposal, the Pope cannot consider it because he is prevented from doing so by international law…

Alberto Juesas Escudero of Spain launched the initiative, which now has more than 40,000 supporters. Escudero claims “it is a shameful to see the Vatican’s riches and then watch the news.” He explained that what motivated him to issue this invitation was that he believes the Vatican “does not admit its errors. […] It does not preach by example. Jesus was born in a cave and lived in poverty.”

The youth concluded: “The Vatican is a disgrace! The Catholic religion is a disgrace!”

In answer to ZENIT’s questions, Cardinal Cordes explained that he has heard similar proposals for the past 40 years, and that before it was even much more frequent.

When John Paul II called him to Rome to work in the Curia, he observed that “the climate against the Vatican was very strong.” He explained, “I had looked into [the status of the Vatican’s holdings] and found out that the Church cannot do what it wants with the works of art that are in the Vatican.”

“Going once, going twice…sold! How much for this Pieta?

Duty of the Church

In reality, he said, the Church “has the duty to conserve the works of art in the name of the Italian state.” He affirmed, “It cannot sell them.”

The prelate recalled an incident in the 1970s when a benefactor made a donation to renovate the Collegio Teutonico inside the Vatican, and the residence director wanted to give this person a small statue — of a meager value compared to the others in the Vatican Museums — as a gesture of gratitude.

The German benefactor had a lot of problems with the Italian state, as he was accused of taking goods that Italy was charged with safeguarding. “In every country there are a lot of measures for the defense of works of art, because the state has a duty to maintain them,” Cardinal Cordes added, noting that the Holy See treasures are also part of Italian cultural history.

The Cor Unum president underlined the work of the Catholic Church in health services and education in various regions in Africa. “When they come to meet the Pope, the African presidents recognize this,” he said.

Without the Church, he affirmed, a huge part of those afflicted with AIDS would be abandoned, because the Church, with its network of hospitals, is the organization that cares for the largest number of people affected by the virus.

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Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

by Steve Ray on January 25, 2018

By Steve Weidenkopf   September 18, 2017

Many years ago I attended a conference organized by a national Catholic organization on the topics of marriage and human sexuality. One of the speakers was a professor from Creighton University who, in the middle of his talk on contraception, launched into a long tangent about how the Church had never condemned slavery in the past, which “proved” that the Church had made a mistake, and so perhaps it’s teaching on contraception would be viewed as incorrect in the future (a viewpoint he agreed with).

I did not get the opportunity at the conference to talk with this professor about his erroneous statements about the Church and slavery, so I emailed him and we engaged in a courteous exchange in which I pointed him in the direction of several papal condemnations of slavery, which he dismissed out of hand. He ignored the historical record because it did not fit with his agenda of changing Church teaching on contraception.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon tactic by those with an animus against the Church. Many believe, as this professor did, that the Church approved or at least tolerated slavery, especially of Africans and Native Americans in the New World. Scholars argued that the Church was either late in condemning slavery or actively supported it. But like many other historical myths about the Catholic Church, this one does not withstand scrutiny of the historical record.

The myth persists because there were individual Catholics who supported slavery or owned slaves. Scholars with an ax to grind use these examples as “proof” of the Church’s malfeasance without drawing the necessary distinction that what individual Catholics may do does not necessarily reflect the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium.

Moreover, scholars have routinely failed to distinguish between different types of slavery. The Church has consistently and constantly condemned the practice of “unjust servitude,” which usually entailed the enslavement of a certain race or for economic gain. But Western society since ancient times permitted just title servitude; that is, the involuntary servitude imposed on criminals or prisoners of war. Just title servitude was considered permissible as recently as 1949 when the Geneva Convention allowed nations at war to conscript prisoners of war for labor. In this case, the Church has always demanded humane treatment of slaves by their masters and even encouraged their emancipation. The failure to recognize these distinctions between types of servitude has led many scholars to declare falsely that the Church failed to condemn slavery.

The Church was born into a world where slavery was a lynchpin of society. Imperial Rome was built and sustained on the backs of slaves; the complete abolition of slavery in Rome was unthinkable and impractical. Despite societal acceptance of slavery, the Church made no distinction between slaves and freedmen in its membership. The equality of believers in a highly class-stratified society was one of the attractions that the Church held for the people of Rome.

Once Emperor Constantine legalized the Church in A.D. 313, its teachings influenced Roman laws and policies. Church funds were used by Christians to redeem slaves, especially prisoners of war. One former slave even rose to become pope (Callistus I) in the early third century! Still, slavery continued in Europe even after the collapse of imperial rule in the late fifth century, but as the Church’s influence increased the institution of slavery decreased until it was completely eradicated in Christendom.

Unfortunately, slavery returned to European society in the fifteenth century, with the conquest of the Canary Islands and the discovery of the New World. But from 1435 to 1890, a succession of popes condemned the slave trade and slavery in no uncertain terms. The first pope to do so was Eugenius IV (r. 1431-1447), who in his 1435 bull Sicut Dudum demanded that Christians free all enslaved natives of the Canary Islands within fifteen days; failure to do so would incur automatic excommunication. Thus, fifty-seven years before Columbus’s first voyage, the Roman pontiff unequivocally prohibited the enslavement of native peoples.

In 1537, Pope Paul III (r. 1534-1549) issued a bull, Sublimus Dei, which taught that native peoples were not to be enslaved. In 1591, Gregory XIV (r. 1590-1591) promulgated Cum Sicuti, which was addressed to the bishop of Manila in the Philippines and reiterated his predecessors’ prohibitions against enslaving native peoples. In the seventeenth century, Urban VIII (r. 1623-1644) promulgated Commissum Nobis (1639) in support of the Spanish king’s (Philip IV) edict prohibiting enslavement of the Indians in the New World.

The need for cheap and abundant labor in the colonies is what led to the African slave trade. This new form of bondage was also condemned by the popes, beginning with Innocent XI (r. 1676-1689). In 1741, Benedict XIV (r. 1740-1758) issued Immensa Pastorum, which reiterated that the penalty for enslaving Indians was excommunication. In 1839, Gregory XVI (r. 1831-1846) issued In Supremo to condemn the enslavement of Africans. Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903) promulgated two bulls condemning slavery in 1888 and 1890.

Yet despite the many papal condemnations of slavery, European colonists continued to enslave Africans and New World natives until the nineteenth century. Papal denunciations of slavery were so harsh and so frequent that the colonial Spanish instituted a law forbidding the publication of papal documents in the colonies without prior royal approval.

It is ironic that the Church is falsely accused of either supporting slavery or failing to condemn it, when the wholesale enslavement of Christians by Muslims (estimated at one million people), especially the Ottoman Turks from the sixteenth to the eighteen century, is all but ignored. Finally, it is disingenuous to equate the immoral behavior of individual Catholics with official Church teaching. The fact that some Catholics owned slaves or participated in the slave trade is not an indictment of the Church, but rather an illustration that Catholics will sometimes ignore the clear teachings of the Church.

For more information on this and may other common anti-Catholic historical charges, see Steve Weidenkopf’s new book, The Real Story of Catholic History: Answering Twenty Centuries of Anti-Catholic Myths, available late September and available now for pre-order from Catholic Answers Press.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke has been much in the news this past year. In November 2016, he and three other cardinals presented Pope Francis with the famous dubia – five questions regarding Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Then the American cardinal became embroiled in a power struggle within the Order of Malta, of which he is patron. This was followed by his surprise appointment as a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court. He had been prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 2008 to 2014, when he was removed by Pope Francis. Cardinal Burke has spoken out frequently against what he sees as the growing confusion within the Church about the liturgy, Catholic identity and even the faith itself.

I met him shortly before the first anniversary of the dubia at a celebration in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna, organised by the Coordinamento Nazionale del Summorum Pontificum and the St Michael the Archangel cultural association.

PG Your Eminence, you have recently referred to our times as “realistically apocalyptic”. And you added that the “confusion, division and error” within the Catholic Church coming from “shepherds” even at the highest levels indicate that we “may be” in the End Times. Would you help us to understand what you meant by this?

Screen-Shot-2017-11-29-at-12.28.39-800x500CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE In the present moment there is confusion and error about the most fundamental teachings of the Church, for example with regard to marriage and the family. For instance, the idea that people who are living in an irregular union could receive the sacraments is a violation of the truth with regard both to the indissolubility of marriage and to the sanctity of the Eucharist.

St Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians that before we approach to receive the Body of Christ, we have to examine ourselves, or we eat our condemnation by receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy way. Now the confusion in the Church is going even further than that, because there is today confusion as to whether there are acts which are intrinsically evil and this, of course, is the foundation of the moral law. When this foundation begins to be questioned within the Church, then the whole order of human life and the order of the Church itself are endangered.

So there is a feeling that in today’s world that is based on secularism with a completely anthropocentric approach, by which we think we can create our own meaning of life and meaning of the family and so on, the Church itself seems to be confused. In that sense one may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord. Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.

PG Could you please give us an update on the “formal correction” [of Amoris Laetitia]?

Click here for the rest of the Catholic Herald article.

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Catholics Doing Street Evangelism? Yes, and Growing Fast! Join them!

November 23, 2017

 Cities across the country are now set up with Catholics evangelizing in the streets. And the phenomenon is growing. Many are converts, some have been Catholics all their lives – but all are excited and can’t keep it quiet any longer.  They are training new recruits. It is fun and fruitful. It is blessed and […]

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Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev has a warning for the West

October 26, 2017

By Elizabeth Scalia | Sep 25, 2017 “Before 1917 nobody ever proposed that the collapse of a centuries-old Christian empire would happen…” Participating in a London conference on the topic of “The Christian Future of Europe,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the External Relations Departments of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, spoke on September […]

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Was He Ready to Die?

October 19, 2017

It was just a normal morning — alarm clock, shower, espresso, dress and a saunter down the sidewalk to work. For Paul, it was another day with a whole lifetime ahead of him. But today was different. Someone else got up this morning too. They had their coffee dressed and jumped in the car. They […]

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Is Pope Francis Teaching Heresy? 66+ Scholars and Bishops Say “Yes”

September 25, 2017

I am not expressing any opinion here. I am just posting three of the many articles about a Papal Correction which is taking the Catholic world by storm. Because Pope Francis is refusing to explain his teachings there is a justified response and request for clarification or correction. Read and consider this historical situation and […]

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Cardinal Burke Outlines Formal Correction of Pope Francis’ Teaching

August 17, 2017

Posted by Edward Pentin on Thursday Aug 17th, 2017 at 7:56 AM The former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura explains in a new interview how a correction on parts of the Holy Father’s magisterium would be enacted, pays tribute to the recently deceased Cardinal Meisner, and stresses the importance of true mercy. In a new […]

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Embarrassing and Inane Article in Crux Magazine Saying Catholic Converts Suffer from Neurosis

August 11, 2017

AUSTEN IVEREIGH’S SLAM AGAINST CONVERTS IN CRUX STIRRED UP A FIRESTORM. Below is a link to his article, comments, his subsequent apology and Crux’s response with new guidelines. UPDATE SATURDAY, 8/12/17 To his credit Austen Iverigh apologized for his article. The introductory paragraph says, Recently I used the term “convert neurosis” as a metaphor, and […]

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Terminally Ill Baby Charlie Gard held Prisoner in London Hospital

July 7, 2017

UPDATE 7/7/17  Latest update on Baby Charlie Gard ***************** Here is the whole story about this poor baby and his family and the brutal tyrannical decision taken by the English hospital backed by British and European courts. Pray for this poor baby and his family. From Jimmy Akin’s blog Pray for Terminally Ill Baby Charlie Gard […]

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Why I Like Thomas Williams and Breitbart News

June 8, 2017

Yeah, I know it gets a bad rap in the local “Main Street Media” but if you shake off their bias and take a closer look it’s a pretty good place to find out what’s really going on. My friend Thomas Williams is the Rome correspondent and I have nothing but respect for this guy.

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“The Pope’s Enigmatic Words on Resignation,” by Veteran Rome Reporter Phil Lawler

May 31, 2017

By Phil Lawler (bio – articles – email) | May 31, 2017 In his homily at Mass on Wednesday morning, commenting on St. Paul’s farewell to the Church at Ephesus, Pope Francis said: A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner…. All shepherds have […]

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A Quick Reply to Question about Cremation and Scattering the Ashes

May 23, 2017

I was asked a question about Catholics, cremation and the scattering of ash. Here is my brief answer: The whole issue of cremation goes back to the Romans. They denied the bodily resurrection so they often burned the body and if they were rich they put the ashes in urns and put them in the […]

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Catholic Enablers of Islam

May 4, 2017

Catholic Enablers of Islam by WILLIAM KILPATRICK in Crisis Magazine I recently wrote a piece about the civilizational struggle with Islam. In response, a reader asked for some specific practical ways that Catholics could resist Islam. I replied with a short list of steps Church leaders could take: Break off dialogue with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as […]

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Why I Love Religion and Jesus Does Too

April 21, 2017
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Marriage in Heaven? Will We Know and Love Our Spouses in Heaven?

February 14, 2017

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. This is for my mom. My dad died almost six years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will not be married” in heaven. I wrote the following to comfort my Mom… Mom, I know it is important to you since […]

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