Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
email:torontocatholicwitness@rogers.com

Sunday, 31 March 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Fr. Despard to be Suspended for exposing "gay mafia" in priesthood?

Fr. Matthew Despard
This morning, when I read the Daily Record, I was shocked to read of possible action being taken against Fr. Despard for telling the truth about a long standing problem amongst clergy in Scotland: gay bullying, priests breaking their vows of celibacy and committing sodomy; the cover-up of these abominations by the hierarchy. Actions against Fr. Despard will only confirm the truth of his book. What is needed is a transparent investigation into the local Church; not a cover-up. 





A photo of active homosexual Cardinal O'Brien still on the
Diocese of Motherwell website
It therefore comes as NO surprise that the Diocese of Motherwell continues to carry information and a photo of the disgraced Cardinal O'Brien for the Year of Faith.  Would they still carry this photo had he been a rapist, rather than a sodomite? This is absolutely disgraceful.

Forgive me, for it grieves me that I have to report to you on such an issue on Easter Morning. However, this morning we are celebrating the Resurrection of the Eternal High Priest. In defending the priesthood He established, we are also honouring Him. So, in this spirit, I bring to your attention Fr. Despard. We do not know what the future holds for Fr. Despard. I ask you to pray for Fr. Despard and all good Catholic priests in Scotland. The Church, in my motherland, is undergoing a terrible crisis. Please pray for Scotland. 



From the Daily Record: 

THE priest who made explosive claims about gay sexual bullying in the Catholic Church fears he could be stripped of his priesthood, claim friends.

They say details Father Matthew Despard, 48, exposed in his bombshell book Priesthood in Crisis have left senior clerics reeling.

The whistleblower – who said sexual misconduct had been rife in junior seminaries for years – believes the church could turn its back on him. A friend said: “Bishop Joe Devine called diocesan advisers to an emergency meeting to discuss Fr Despard’s claims.

UPDATE: Please see our latest (April 7, 29013) editorial/commentary on the crisis in Scotland

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Christ is Risen



Hæc nox est,

in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,
Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit, nisi rédimi profuísset.

UPDATE: Fr. Despard's book on the "gay mafia" in the priesthood is true

As a Scot from Glasgow, and with family in the diocese of Motherwell, I take a very personal interest in the life of the Church in my motherland. The scandal of Cardinal O'Brien's past is a tragedy for him and the Church. I pray that he repents and attains peace with the Lord. 
Now, I wish to address the issue of Fr. Despard's book, Priesthood in Crisis. My family personally knows him very well. He is a good and holy priest. Only this week, in conversation with a relative (a close friend of Fr. Despard), I discussed the book and the situation in Motherwell and Scotland.. I can tell you that the contents of the book are - very sadly - true. Further, in my numerous trips back home over the years, maintaining my various and extensive contacts in Scotland independently confirms Fr. Despard. There is indeed a "powerful gay mafia" ( to quote Fr. Despard) in the priesthood. The Church in Scotland is in crisis. 
Please pray for the Church in Scotland, that she may return to penance and purity. 

St. John Ogilvie, pray for Scotland. 

Pope Francis speaks about the Shroud of Turin


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I join all of you gathered before the Holy Shroud, and I thank the Lord who, through modern technology, offers us this possibility.”
 
Pope Francis.  Photo/Reuters
Even if it takes place in this way, our gaze is not a mere 'observing', but rather a veneration. It is a prayerful gaze. I would go further: It is a letting ourselves be looked upon. This Face has eyes that are closed. It is the face of one who is dead and yet, mysteriously, He is watching us and in silence He speaks to us. How is this possible? How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this Icon of a man who has been scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our hearts and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”
 
Let us therefore allow ourselves to be reached by this gaze, which is directed not to our eyes but to our hearts. In silence, let us listen to what He has to say to us from beyond death itself. By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful Love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world in order to free us from its power. This disfigured Face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life that does not respect their dignity, by war and the violence that afflict the weakest… And yet, the Face of the Shroud conveys a great peace. This tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty. It is as if it let a restrained but powerful energy within it shine through, as if to tell us: have faith; do not lose hope; the power of God's love, the power of the Risen One, conquers all.”
 
So, looking upon the Man of the Shroud, I make Saint Francis of Assisi's prayer before the Crucifix my own: 'Most High and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and grant me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may carry out your holy and true command. Amen.'”

When the Pope ignores the Church's Law we have chaos

Much has been discussed on the Holy Father decision to wash the feet of two girls during his Holy Thursday Mass at the prison. One girl, so we were informed, was not even Christian. The Pope is the Supreme Legislator, and can change law - however, with any change of law, comes the need to legislate such change.  To act contrary to law, as the Supreme Legislator, yet to not comment on or change the law for others to do same is chaos. This issue should not be swept under the table, nor discussed with histrionic indulgence. Pope Francis needs to understand that he is the Supreme Pontiff and not a parish priest fudging about in far off Buenos Aires. Whether he likes it or not, every action and word is seen by the world as examples, symbols, motivations for bishops and priests to emulate.  The law of the Church is already being violated and abused - and this for decades. To top it off, the secular media are trying to push it all in a certain direction. Now this is their problem, but it also becomes our problem as Catholics, as it causes disquiet, misunderstanding, distress and confusion.

I link to Fr. Z and his review of canonist Edward Peters' assessment:

[We get to the crux of the canonical issue...] 3. Few people seem able to articulate when a pope is bound by canon law (e.g., when canon law legislates matters of divine or natural law) and when he may ignore it (e.g., c. 378 § 1 on determining the suitability of candidates for the episcopate or appointing an excessive number of papal electors contrary to UDG 33). Those are not hard cases. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for—nay, dissension among—the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here[In spades!]Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather [pay attention...]how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it.  [That, ladies and gents, is the problem.  Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.  Indeed, they will claim that others who uphold the clearly written law are wrong to up hold the law.  They will, like gnostics, appeal to some vague super-principle which trumps all law (and reason).]
4. A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot.[moot - "doubtful, theoretical, meaningless, debatable"] For the sake of good order, then [Peters' own recommendation...], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.
Get that last point?
What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.
This is a huge problem.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday: Reading from the Breviary


First reading
From the letter to the Hebrews
9:11-28
By the shedding of his own blood, Christ, the high priest, entered the sanctuary once and for all
When Christ came as high priest of the good things which have come to be, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation. He entered, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, and achieved eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself up unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God...
RESPONSORY See Isaiah 53:7, 12
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter;
no complaint from his lips against the evil done to him. He was given up to death,
 to give his people life.
He surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked.
 To give his people life.
Second reading
From the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
The power of Christ’s blood
If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors...
If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.
There flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.
Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pope Benedict's Homily for Mass of the Lord's Supper (2011)


Saint Luke has preserved for us one concrete element of Jesus’ prayer for unity: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:31). Today we are once more painfully aware that Satan has been permitted to sift the disciples before the whole world. And we know that Jesus prays for the faith of Peter and his successors. 

We know that Peter, who walks towards the Lord upon the stormy waters of history and is in danger of sinking, is sustained ever anew by the Lord’s hand and guided over the waves. But Jesus continues with a prediction and a mandate. “When you have turned again…”. Every human being, save Mary, has constant need of conversion

Jesus tells Peter beforehand of his coming betrayal and conversion. But what did Peter need to be converted from? When first called, terrified by the Lord’s divine power and his own weakness, Peter had said: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk 5:8). In the light of the Lord, he recognizes his own inadequacy. Precisely in this way, in the humility of one who knows that he is a sinner, is he called. He must discover this humility ever anew

At Caesarea Philippi Peter could not accept that Jesus would have to suffer and be crucified: it did not fit his image of God and the Messiah. In the Upper Room he did not want Jesus to wash his feet: it did not fit his image of the dignity of the Master. In the Garden of Olives he wielded his sword. He wanted to show his courage. Yet before the servant girl he declared that he did not know Jesus. At the time he considered it a little lie which would let him stay close to Jesus. All his heroism collapsed in a shabby bid to be at the centre of things. 

We too, all of us, need to learn again to accept God and Jesus Christ as he is, and not the way we want him to be. We too find it hard to accept that he bound himself to the limitations of his Church and her ministers. We too do not want to accept that he is powerless in this world. We too find excuses when being his disciples starts becoming too costly, too dangerous. All of us need the conversion which enables us to accept Jesus in his reality as God and man. We need the humility of the disciple who follows the will of his Master. Tonight we want to ask Jesus to look to us, as with kindly eyes he looked to Peter when the time was right, and to convert us.

After Peter was converted, he was called to strengthen his brethren. It is not irrelevant that this task was entrusted to him in the Upper Room. The ministry of unity has its visible place in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Dear friends, it is a great consolation for the Pope to know that at each Eucharistic celebration everyone prays for him, and that our prayer is joined to the Lord’s prayer for Peter. Only by the prayer of the Lord and of the Church can the Pope fulfil his task of strengthening his brethren – of feeding the flock of Christ and of becoming the guarantor of that unity which becomes a visible witness to the mission which Jesus received from the Father.

A diabolical Gaia "Mass" in a Toronto Catholic Church?

 The Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts will be performing the "Missa Gaia" at Holy Name Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Toronto. As will be seen, it is outrageous that a Catholic church be used for a piece of work that draws its inspiration from gnostic pantheism. This underscores the grave crisis in the faith that we have not only in our local Catholic schools, but within the Archdiocese itself. Will Cardinal Collins move to act against this? Ravaging wolves are in the vineyard. I am certain that his Eminence knows nothing about this "Mass", nor its being staged by a "Catholic" school. However, he is being informed of it. Please contact him and ask him to stop it. 

A true Mass is focused on the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross; on the Creator. Missa Gaia, inverts this, by focusing on the created. This is blasphemy. It has been described by James Morton (more on him later) as an "
environmental liturgy". This is devilry.  A review in Ecospirit Journal reads:




In Missa Gaia the second meaning is expressed by means of a monumental initation journey into earth-wisdom [gnosis], a journey that encompasses nearly the entire first-half of the Earth Mass...“Beatitudes” is the answer to “Kyrie eleison,” affirming the blessedness of all of the earth’s inhabitants. The gift of mercy is here within the living earth [not Christ's mercy then!]. The mercy is this spiritualized biosphere. Missa Gala introduces us into a new world-view [pantheistic gnosticism], quite opposed to current scientific materialism or philosophical nihilism.

Paul Winter, (composer) states that the genesis of the project began following an invitation to improvise music with a friend after a sermon at St. John the Divine Cathedral (NYC) on solar energy. The Dean at the time (and also a motivator for Winter), was James Morton (a "sacred ecologist"). In an interview, Morton expressed his blasphemous pantheism, thus: 

 "Lent, for example, is very much about penitence and suffering. I would say, 'Let’s talk about the suffering of the Earth, the passion of water. Let’s talk about Jesus in Earth – God incarnate in the flesh of Earth, the flesh of water, the flesh of the elements of creation and how that creation is suffering – the passion of the creation.' And that was very effective".

Some may argue: but it even contains pieces entitled" Sanctus" etc. . Winter provides much detail into the inspirations behind the "Catholic" titled pieces etc. Sanctus, is, if we are to believe him, about the whale; the Kyrie was "co-composed" with a wolf. There is nothing Catholic, nor even remotely Christian in this work. It is devilry. 

So that there is no misunderstanding, let Winter outline Missa Gaia's philosophical foundation:  

"The Earth Mass evolved over the next four months. Our friend Mary Schoonmaker suggested the alternative title Missa Gaia, using the Greek name for Mother Earth and acknowledging the Gaia hypothesis of scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, who propose 'that the entire range of living matter on Earth, from whales to viruses,and from oaks to algae, could be regarded as constituting a single livingentity, capable of manipulating the Earth's atmosphere to suit its overallneeds and endowed with faculties and power far beyond those of its constituent parts'.

If the 'Gaia hypothesis' is about synergy, then the process of our creation of the EarthMass/Missa, Gaia is truly a manifestation of Gaia. For what developed was an interweave of creative ideas from all the members of the Consort; and our process was self-balancing, by virtue of the common instincts of our little musical tribe. While no one of us knew all of what was appropriate for the music for this Mass, together we found that we did know". 





As an aside, Lovelock, an agnostic, is an eccentric scientist, who at one point predicted that half of humanity would be dead within a hundred years due to "global warming"; Margulis was a 911 "truth seeker", a strict evolutionary materialistic biologist, who, incidentally, rejects the "fuzzy" goddess ideology of many Gaia advocates. Yet, the key point to remember is that from the extremes of biological materialism through agnosticism to gnosticism we have the rejection of Christ and His Church; we have the Creator supplanted with creation: we have pantheism.


So far, Winter's inspirations for this cacophony are not very edifying. But it gets even worse, much, much worse. Winter informs us: 

"
Earth Mass/Missa Gaia was premiered on Mother's Day, May 10, 1981, celebrating Mother Earth, with a sermon by David Brower [a now deceased "environmentalist"], founder and president of Friends of the Earth...

Now, you may ask: who is this Brower? What motivates him? Draw your own conclusions based on his words. I, for one, recall National Socialism. 

"Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us," he said, "and immigration is part of that problem. It has to be addressed." Some of his views with regard to population control were quite controversial. For example, he once stated that, "Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license ... All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday in Holy Week: Reading from the Breviary

First reading
From the letter to the Hebrews
12:14-29
You have come to the mountain of the living God
Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord. See to it that no man falls away from the grace of God; that no bitter root springs up through which many may become defiled; that there be among you no fornicator or godless person like Esau, who sold his birthright for a meal. You know that afterward he wanted to inherit his father’s blessing, but he was rejected because he had no opportunity to alter his choice, even though he sought the blessing with tears.
You have not drawn near to an untouchable mountain and a blazing fire, nor gloomy darkness and storm and trumpet blast, nor a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that they be not addressed to them, for they could not bear to hear the command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”...
Second reading
From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine, bishop
The perfection of love
Dear brethren, the Lord has marked out for us the fullness of love that we ought to have for each other. He tells us: No one has greater love than the man who lays down his life for his friends. In these words, the Lord tells us what the perfect love we should have for one another involves. John, the evangelist who recorded them, draws the conclusion in one of his letters: As Christ laid down his life for us, so we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. We should indeed love one another as he loved us, he who laid down his life for us.
This is surely what we read in the Proverbs of Solomon: If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler, observe carefully what is set before you; then stretch out your hand, knowing that you must provide the same kind of meal yourself. What is this ruler’s table if not the one at which we receive the body and blood of him who laid down his life for us? What does it mean to sit at this table if not to approach it with humility? What does it mean to observe carefully what is set before you if not to meditate devoutly on so great a gift? What does it mean to stretch out one’s hand, knowing that one must provide the same kind of meal oneself, if not what I have just said: as Christ laid down his life for us, so we in our turn ought to lay down our lives for our brothers? This is what the apostle Paul said: Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we might follow in his footsteps.
This is what is meant by providing “the same kind of meal.” This is what the blessed martyrs did with such burning love. If we are to give true meaning to our celebration of their memorials, to our approaching the Lord’s table in the very banquet at which they were fed, we must, like them, provide “the same kind of meal.”...
Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us. In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing. Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table. Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tuesday in Holy Week: Reading from the Breviary


From the letter to the Hebrews12:1-13
Let us go forth to the struggle with Christ as our leader
Since we are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith. For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Remember how he endured the opposition of sinners; hence do not grow despondent or abandon the struggle. In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Moreover, you have forgotten the encouraging words addressed to you as sons:
“My sons, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
nor lose heart when he reproves you;
For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he receives.”

Endure your trials as the discipline of God, who deals with you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you do not know the discipline of sons, you are not sons but bastards.
If we respected our earthly fathers who corrected us, should we not all the more submit to the Father of spirits, and live? They disciplined us as seemed right to them, to prepare us for the short span of mortal life; but God does so for our true profit, that we may share his holiness.
At the time it is administered, all discipline seems a cause for grief and not for joy, but later it brings forth the fruit of peace and justice to those who are trained in its school. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight the paths you walk on, that your halting limbs may not be dislocated but healed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday in Holy Week: Reading from the Breviary

From the Letter to the Hebrews10:19-39
Perseverance in faith. Awaiting God’s judgment
Brothers and sisters, since the blood of Jesus assures our entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living path he has opened up for us through the veil (the “veil” meaning his flesh), and since we have a great priest who is over the house of God, let us draw near in utter sincerity and absolute confidence, our hearts sprinkled clean from the evil which lay on our conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to our profession which gives us hope, for he who made the promise deserves our trust. We must consider how to rouse each other to love and good deeds. We should not absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do, but encourage one another; and this all the more because you see that the Day draws near.
If we sin willfully after receiving the truth, there remains for us no further sacrifice for sin – only a fearful expectation of judgment and a flaming fire to consume the adversaries of God. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not suppose that a much worse punishment is due the man who disdains the Son of God, thinks the covenant-blood by which he was sanctified to be ordinary, and insults the Spirit of grace? We know who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” and“The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Recall the days gone by when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to insult and trial; at other times you associated yourselves with those who were being so dealt with. You even joined in the sufferings of those who were in prison and joyfully assented to the confiscation of your goods, knowing that you had better and more permanent possessions. Do not, then, surrender your confidence; it will have great reward. You need patience to do God’s will and receive what he has promised.
For just a brief moment,
and he who is to come will come; he will not delay.
My just man will live by faith,
and if he draws back
I take no pleasure in him.
We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and live.