Monday 31 March 2014

There can never be any "right" to evil, to sin

We hear much talk about "gay rights", "abortion rights" and so on. How can this be? where did this perverted sense of freedom come from? What will it lead to? Pope John Paul II provides us with some answers from Evangelium vitae. 

"...the moral conscience, both individual and social, is today subjected, also as a result of the penetrating influence of the media, to an extremely serious and mortal danger: that of confusion between good and evil, precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life. A large part of contemporary society looks sadly like that humanity which Paul describes in his Letter to the Romans. It is composed "of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth" (1:18): having denied God and believing that they can build the earthly city without him, "they became futile in their thinking" so that "their senseless minds were darkened" (1:21); "claiming to be wise, they became fools" (1:22), carrying out works deserving of death, and "they not only do them but approve those who practise them" (1:32). When conscience, this bright lamp of the soul (cf. Mt 6:22-23), calls "evil good and good evil" (Is 5:20), it is already on the path to the most alarming corruption and the darkest moral blindness".

Saturday 29 March 2014

Fiat Lux: And God said: "let there be light, and there was light..."

"For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of light". St. Paul 

Our Blessed Lord is the light of the universe. Light is a godly gift, to be celebrated...not darkness. For it is under darkness that sin is worked. 

North Carolina Catholic school divided over teaching on homosexuality

Anger at Charlotte Catholic school after speaker criticizes homosexuality

Some parents and students at one of North Carolina’s largest Catholic schools are outraged after a Nashville Dominican nun who holds a doctorate in theology criticized homosexuality in a presentation to students, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Apparently the school invited  Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican, to speak at a school assembly. Notably missing from all accounts of this story is what she actually said. Controversialists and polemicists on all sides are busily filling comboxes and sending petitions even as we speak. As tempting as it might be to add to the stream of bile rising over this conflict, I thought it might be interesting to get some idea what was actually said.

Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel OP
According to the website of Aquinas College, the talk was likely Sr. Jane's Masculinity & Femininity, Difference and Gift based on JPII's theology of the body. I cannot find anything on the actual talk but here's a link to the Newman Connection which offers a video course on the theology of the body. You can listen to Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, OP expound on the theology of the body. So, instead of jumping head first into the fray, sit back and listen to some of the stuff they are fighting about.

Newman Connection: Rich Gift of Love

Addendum: Nearly 1,000 attend Charlotte Catholic meeting on nun’s speech

Good luck getting any concrete information about what was actually said. The meeting was closed to the public and media so any reports are the accounts of attendees. Her assembly talk was a one hour distillation of her usual lecture course so at least some of it was off the cuff and we are relying on second hand accounts from students.
During her speech, Laurel quoted studies that said gays and lesbians are not born with same-sex attractions, and that children in single-parent homes have a greater chance of becoming homosexual, Hains and others said.
The catechism does not attempt to explain the origins of homosexuality. For those of you who are not in possession of a catechism... 
(2357) Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarily. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

(2358) The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

(2359) Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
I am quite prepared to defend the Church's teaching about homosexuality as stated here. I am not prepared to defend any particular scientific study without knowing anything about it.

Read more here:

Read more here:
Masculinity & Femininity: Difference and Gift
Masculinity & Femininity: Difference and Gift
Masculinity & Femininity: Difference and Gift
Masculinity & Femininity: Difference and Gift

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Stop the Insanity!

I am a member of an organization that wantonly and with premeditation engages in activities that would result in being incarcerated for a psychiatric assessment in some parts of this country. I am, of course, talking about the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the activity is giving away money in the form of grocery vouchers to complete strangers. To be fair, I had no idea I was engaging in such a dangerous and subversive activity. That was before I read the following...

Halifax man lands in psychiatric ward after handing out money to strangers

All last week, Halifax was roiled by sightings of a “mystery man” roaming the city and handing out money to strangers.
The sums were large: $100, $50 bills and an assortment of silver coins. The recipients were picked seemingly at random: workers taking a smoke break, passengers on a bus or even a couple sitting on their porch.
Reportedly dressed in patched pants and a wool jacket, the man would tell people he lived in the woods. Sometimes he would point skywards and tell them to thank God, other times he would hint he was the vanguard of a movement to “take back the wealth.”
“I think he did a good job for mankind,” said a clerk at Citadel Coins, one of the Halifax coin shops where the man had come to stock up.
On Monday, Haligonians finally learned the identity of their enigmatic benefactor: Richard Wright, a P.E.I. man who had barely returned home to Charlottetown before he was apprehended by local mental-health authorities.
This sort of behavior constitutes "a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation or memory that seriously impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life" so I should turn myself in.  Don't wait for the rush... place a few large bills in your parish poor box and then report to your local police station for psychiatric evaluation.

Monday 24 March 2014

Lenten Reflections for Bloggers

to be read aloud
in all churches and chapels of the Diocese of Portsmouth on
23rd March 2014, the Third Sunday of Lent

Dear Pilgrims,

I need to raise with you a very serious matter, one that it is appropriate for us to consider during this season of Lent. For Lent is a time of Christian warfare, when, accompanying Christ in the desert, we engage in battle against spiritual evils, both within and without. In this season, we seek “to hear the Word of God, to convert, to remember our Baptism, to be reconciled with God and neighbour” and to use the weapons of Christian penance, namely, prayer, self-denial and charity. So let me first wish you the grace of God for a happy Lent! May this Lent be for you a truly favourable time, a springtime of faith, a season of real renewal and rebirth, as we prepare to celebrate Easter.

But let me draw closer to my theme. From the Bible and from the Catechism, we know that there are basically two types of sin: mortal and venial. A sin is ‘missing the mark,’ a failure to follow our in-built drive towards truth, goodness and love,4 an offence against God and neighbour, a thought, word, deed or omission breaking God’s law, damaging self, hurting others and harming our society. A mortal sin, as its name suggests, is lethal; it cuts us off from Christ and His Church, deserving the “eternal death of hell,” whereas a venial sin is a disorder that wounds and impairs our communion with God. To commit a mortal sin, three conditions are necessary.8 We must have full knowledge. We must give complete consent. (Obviously, external pressures, disordered emotions and pathological or addictive patterns of behaviour can diminish the free character of the offence committed.) It must also be a grave matter, something that directly contradicts one of the Ten Commandments.

Let us consider the Eighth Commandment, not least within the context of today’s digital age. The Ten Commandments make explicit the natural law written into every human heart. They tell us to love God (Commandments One to Three) and to love our neighbour (Commandments Four to Ten). The Eighth Commandment says this: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” In other words, we must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy, and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment. We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings. How do I use Facebook or Twitter? Am I charitable when blogging? Do I revel in other people’s failings? All this is grave matter. Yet when we think of our news media and TV, in which fallen celebrities are pilloried, reputations shredded and people’s sins exposed, it sometimes seems our popular culture thrives on breaking this Commandment.

The Truth is always graced. When we speak the Truth, our words are always laden with the Holy Spirit, piercing the heart of the listener and inviting them to accept our words and put them into action. “O that today you would listen to his voice; harden not your hearts” exclaimed today’s Psalm. We see this too in the Gospel, that magnificent account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan at the well. Jesus was thirsty from the journey, but what He was really thirsting for was the woman’s faith. In the ensuing dialogue, like a piece of theatre, He encouraged her with the promise of “living water,” the Holy Spirit, “a spring welling up to eternal life.” When Jesus, His Heart full of compassion, gently spoke to her the truth about her past and about Who He was, she was transformed. She ran off to tell the whole town she had found the Messiah.

In Lent, we think about serious things, our choices, our sins, our redemption. In this season, the Church invites us to purify our desires, especially our deepest desire for happiness, for love, for goodness and truth. In making a moral decision, we cannot choose simply on the basis of what gives us pleasure and what causes us pain. We must also take account of our values, of what is right and what is wrong, recognizing that often, to do the right thing involves self-sacrifice. This is why to purify our desires, to be happy in life, to be psychologically healthy, we must pray. We must be people of prayer. We must develop a personal relationship with God. St. Theresa of Lisieux once said: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart, a simple look towards heaven, a cry of recognition and love.” We must find time and space every day to pray our morning and night prayers, from the heart to the Heart of Jesus. We cannot be saved unless we pray. We must read the Gospels, use a prayer book, visit the Blessed Sacrament, listen in silence, say the Rosary and the Angelus, maybe recite part of the Divine Office, and take part in the greatest prayer of all, the Sacrifice of the Mass.

One last point. This Lent, I urge you to make good use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is no better way to effect Lenten renewal than to meet Jesus One to one, Face to face, in the Sacrament of Penance, burying our sins in Him and rising with Him to new life. This Sacrament is the only means of being forgiven a mortal sin and a huge support in dealing with venial sins and bad habits. The ‘secret’ of a good confession is a careful examination of conscience, which is why reflecting in prayer on the Ten Commandments is a great help. Indeed, on our Lenten journey with Christ in the desert, we will not reach Jerusalem unless we make a good confession, and so I urge you to find time to celebrate this therapeutic Sacrament now, with a priest near you. So, once again, I wish you a Happy Lent! Thank you for listening. May God bless you all. Please pray for me, as I do for you, every day.

In Corde Iesu
+ Philip
Bishop of Portsmouth.

Original pdf file

Saturday 22 March 2014

A REQUIEM FOR A MODERNIST (or, Kirk and Spock as theologians).... we are within sensor range of Eden...

Captain's log 11.10.1962, Vatican City...

...let's get together and have some fun,
I don't know how to do it, but it's got to be done"

.... modernist theology took care of this lad,
we watch in reverence as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
A flower?

Friday 21 March 2014

Toronto Rooming House Fire

On Thursday March 20 there was yet another rooming house fire in Toronto. Two people were killed and ten others were treated for smoke inhalation. 

As I sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop I can remember my own experience with rooming houses. When I first arrived in this country it was common to see 'Room for Rent' signs all over some neighborhoods in Toronto. At the time it was quite a respectable way for a family to manage the mortgage on a house. The family would live on the lower floors while the roomers would live upstairs. In my own case, I once had an upstairs room next to a park in St. Anthony's parish. Since the owners and I were of the same national descent, they regarded me as some sort of long lost relative. I remember sipping some aqua vita in the kitchen with the grandfather who spoke not a word of English. It was quite a pleasant experience. 

Today this is no longer the case. Real estate speculators will buy up houses and rent them out to all comers at exorbitant rents. I have seen windowless basements subdivided into rooms at $400 each. I have lived in a rooming house with a crack dealer living upstairs and the days following check day a living hell. What is driving this downward spiral?

The answer ought to be obvious... greed. Back in the 70's it was possible for a family of relatively modest means to afford a home in the city. This is no longer true and the city is becoming increasingly polarized between the haves and the have-nots. Take a look at the following graphs...

The white areas are the middle income neighborhoods, lower income is red and high income is blue. Notice the shrinking middle income areas. Also notice the effects of gentrification. My own neighborhood, the Beach, was distinctly middle income back in the 70's but by 2005 has become solidly high income. The graphs paint a disturbing picture of a city that is heading towards where New York City is... a place for the extremely rich or the extremely poor with nothing in between. 

What does this have to do with a rooming house fire? Simply this... as low income housing passes from families and homeowners to real estate speculators we can expect more and more of this abuse. The other shoe dropping I mentioned earlier is that I expect our local government to enact bylaws which will protect the real estate vultures at the expense of reducing low income housing. Outlawing rooming houses, multiple family dwellings and basement apartments might protect real estate values and prevent block busting but it will do nothing to bring home ownership within reach of middle income earners. It is these middle income earners who will provide decent housing of the kind I lived in back in the 70's. You cannot expect the value of your property to continually escalate without causing serious problems across the board. Do we really want this city to become islands of penthouses and mansions surrounded by tenements and slums?

Three Cities Within Toronto

Austrian Catholic MEP, Ewald Stadler, speaks out on Ukraine, Crimea and US-EU war-mongering

The Austrian Member of European Parliament, Ewald Stadler, (also a practicing "traditionalist" Catholic) has given a wide ranging interview with Sophie Schevernadze of Russia Today television. Herr Stadler makes it clear that American neo-con Russophobes (I would emphasize Othodoxy "phobes") dominant a number of countries in Europe (e.g. Germany), manipulating them to do their "master's'" will etc. 

What is becoming quite evident, is that the "news" being reported in the regular media is full of falsehoods. Watch, listen and learn. 

Also, an earlier interview from late last year with Pat Buchanan is very, very revealing. 

Sunday 16 March 2014

Fr. Paul Nicholson on St. Joseph and Family Life

Fr. Paul Nicholson presents an excellent talk on St. Joseph and family life. With his Feast day this coming Wednesday, and being the Patron of Canada, we should redouble our devotion to the Protector of the Church.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Is the evil specter of Stalin still haunting Russia and the Crimea?

Joseph Stalin, that tyrannical murderer who made Adolph Hitler look like a choirboy, still has his apologists and admirers. It is deeply disturbing to see images of this fiend being carried about in the Crimea; to see the loathsome red flag of communism being carried and held aloft. Let me make my position clear: I oppose the hard communism of Lenin-Stalin, as well as the "soft, white gloves" variety as practiced by the increasingly secular and anti-Christian EU; Canada and the USA. 

Russian Television has made much recently of "fascists" in Kiev. Yes, it is deeply disturbing to see admirers of Bandera; but it is even more so to see admirers of Stalin and Lenin. If we are going to denounce totalitarian killers: they all must be denounced. Sadly, there are those in Russia, the Ukraine and White Russia who refuse to come to grips with the monster of iniquity that Stalin and his gang were. 

Just one example of Stalin's brutality was the Katyn Massacres. 

From PBS: 

Partners in crime
"On March 5, 1940, Stalin and other high-ranking Politburo members signed a document condemning nearly 22,000 imprisoned Poles to death. Those being held at three camps, Ostashkov, Starobelsk, and Kozelsk (a camp near Smolensk), mostly Polish officers and other members of the Polish elite, were transferred and disappeared during the months of April and May 1940. These people, who Stalin had decided were “hardened and uncompromising enemies of Soviet authority,” were brutally murdered by the NKVD under Stalin’s direct authority".

Communists marching in the Crimea

Soviet veteran and others holding an image of their hero

A Crimean holding aloft a communist flag, Lenin "icon" before a statue of the odious Lenin

Communists carrying Ukrainian and Soviet flags in the Crimea

Wednesday 12 March 2014

A Lenten Meditation by Susan Fox: "The Beloved"

I am honoured to recommend for your prayerful reading, a poetical meditation by our dear friend, Susan Fox: 


Written in the Alps, 1973, Grenoble, France

by Susan Fox

He comes with leaves,
drops brown and crackling
onto pavement,
shrieks cold and sharp
through the city;
He rises and dies.

Have you heard the
rustling from the mountains?
Can you see His
autumn red slashed across the hills?
Rain sweet and fresh, He tastes of morning....

The complete poem may be read here.  

Saturday 8 March 2014

The Catholic Church absolutely forbids as evil, civil recognition of so-called same-sex unions

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH: Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons

With the pretext of regulating one context of social and juridical cohabitation, attempts are made to justify the institutional recognition of de facto unions.  In this way, de facto unions would turn into an institution, and their rights and duties would be sanctioned by law to the detriment of the family based on marriage. The de facto unions would be put on a juridical level similar to marriage; moreover, this kind of cohabitation would be publicly qualified as a “good” by elevating it to a condition similar to, or equivalent to marriage, to the detriment of truth and justice.  In this way, a very strong contribution would be made toward the breakdown of the natural institution of marriage which is absolutely vital, basic and necessary for the whole social body...
 If the family based on marriage and de facto unions are neither similar nor equivalent in their duties, functions and services in society, then they cannot be similar or equivalent in their juridical status...
Marriage and the family are of public interest; they are the fundamental nucleus of society and the State and should be recognized and protected as such.  Two or more persons may decide to live together, with or without a sexual dimension but this cohabitation is not for that reason of public interest. The public authorities can not get involved in this private choice.  De facto unions are the result of private behavior and should remain on the private level. 
Pontifical Council for the Family: Family, marriage and "de facto" unions. 

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Ronald Reagan was pro-Russian, pro-Orthodox (a reminder to neo-con interventionist war-mongers)


          I am honored to have this opportunity to extend warm greetings to the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as you gather in Montreal.
          You deserve the highest commendation for your efforts in support of the return of religious and civil freedom to the Russian people.  Your work furthers the interests of all members of the human family, because it is inspired by faith in the Creator and by the desire for liberty that burns in the hearts of every man, woman, and child on earth.
          The values you hold aid in the preservation of your own great heritage and in the strengthening of religious principles within each nation where your Church is located.  In safeguarding the wondrous beauty and timeless grandeur of the ancient faith and culture of your motherland, you provide all mankind with the hope that this magnificent institution will one day be restored to its former place in the life of the Russian nation and people.
          You have my best wishes for your meeting and continued success in all your efforts.

                                                                   Ronald Reagan



Deeply-respected Mr. President!

          The bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, who have come from every continent to assemble in council, were deeply touched by your words of greeting and ask you to accept the expression of their gratitude.
          While we are honored by the attention you have shown us, we value still more your grasp of the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people who have suffered since 1917 under the yoke of atheistic communism.  Millions and millions of martyred clergy and faithful from different social strata appeal to our Lord, but we rarely see such profound understanding on the part of government authorities as we have encountered from you.
          In thanking you with all our heart, we pray that the Lord will preserve you in good health and strengthen you in your endeavors which have such importance for the United States and the whole world.  May the Lord confer His blessing upon you in that position in which He placed you in order to fulfill His divine will.

                                                Metropolitan Philaret
                                                President of the Sobor of Bishops
                                                of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

                                                          Bishop Gregory,
                                                          Secretary, Sobor of Bishops

The Bandera genocide against Polish women and children in Wolhynia 1943

Stepan Bandera, the "hero" of so-called Ukrainian nationalists, was a sadistic and bestial murderer of well over one hundred thousand Poles. His military Nazi units also were responsible for exterminating at least 9000 Jews in 1941.  His fanaticism also led his debased followers to even murder Ukrainians who did not approve of his vile activities. 

This loathsome creature is presently receiving a posthumous hero's welcome in Kiev. American Senator, John McCain, who distinguishes himself in outrageous foreign buffoonery, outdid himself this past January, by sharing the stage in Kiev with "Banderowscy". 

The Ukraine will never heal unless this sad nation comes to terms with her dark past. All nations have made mistakes, some disastrous: it is the mark of a mature people to admit to mistakes, which may include evil crimes. 

The following video is a heart-rending memorial to Polish women and children murdered by Bandera's OUN-UPA paramilitary. 

May God grant the Ukrainian nation peace and reconciliation. 

Saturday 1 March 2014

The subversion of the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI

According to Fr. Thomas Rosica, "they" dressed His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in an outdated sartorial manner; imposing attire on an unwilling Pope; such  rainment not reflecting the "theologian". "They" - these anonymous conspirators - were subverting the Pope. Presumably, "they" are also behind the new style of dress by Pope Francis? Or, have "they" been removed? Perhaps it is not too much to ask Fr. Thomas Rosica to furnish us with their names? After all, if there is some dark and conspiratorial clique in Rome, he has a moral obligation before God and the Church to expose them. Names please!

Alas, we shall never be provided with such names.To the contrary, Pope Benedict's manner of dress and his liturgical sense were reflections of his drive to return the Church to Her tradition. His externals were reflective of his internal intent. Even the secular Guardian - no friend of the Catholic Church - could understand this. 

Benedict's desire to recapture the Church's traditional liturgy and doctrine goes hand in hand with what he wore as pope. On his election in 2005, he wore Ming the Merciless-style vestments left over from John Paul's administration, and after getting rid of his first master of ceremonies, Piero Marini, who had subjected him to a sort of blue dust-sheet for his first papal mass in Austria, he turned to Guido Marini (no relation) – an MC who understood the power of tradition

Somehow "they" were able to force the Pope to dress as "they" wished; but, according to Fr. Rosica, the Pope's teachings still shone through. Teachings, Rosica informs us, he supports. But does he really? It is one thing, to accuse people, without names and proof, of subverting the Pope; presumably "they" are Pelegians. But it is far, far more serious to claim obeisance and admiration for the Pope's teaching, when all the while dissenting from that Pope, and indeed the Church. 

Fr. Rosica does make a very valid point in his speech. He is most correct in his call for us to remember the teachings of Pope Benedict; what he said. I agree. And in this same spirit, I think it is also appropriate that, we too, remember important words spoken by Fr. Rosica. After all, he is a somewhat prominent priest, and works part-time under Fr. Lombardi.

Yes, we return again to the issue of Fr. Thomas Rosica's interview with the notorious heretic and ex-priest, Gregory Baum. Fr. Rosica addressed Baum: 

"you have been for me and continue to be a real model of hope" 

and also: 

"I've certainly admired very much your theology, your writings; but also your love of the Church, your love of Christ, and you help to keep alive - not only the spirit of the Second Vatican Council - but the authentic teaching of the Council". 

Now, let us consider the words of Pope Benedict from the Chrism Mass of 2012 on the issue of dissent:

Recently a group of priests from a European country issued a summons to disobedience, and at the same time gave concrete examples of the forms this disobedience might take, even to the point of disregarding definitive decisions of the Church’s Magisterium, such as the question of women’s ordination, for which Blessed Pope John Paul II stated irrevocably that the Church has received no authority from the Lord. Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church"?

Not to be forgotten are Pope John Paul's words from Familiaris consortio:

...husbands and wives should first of all recognize clearly the teaching of Humanae vitae as indicating the norm for the exercise of their sexuality, and that they should endeavor to establish the conditions necessary for observing that norm.

With his support of Baum, does Fr. Rosica uphold the teachings of Pope Benedict, of the Church?  No. Gregory Baum is not a "model of hope"; his theology is certainly not to be admired....

But, let Pope Francis have the last word. Let us see what the Supreme Pontiff has to say about his venerable and much loved predecessor. On March 15th, Pope Francis spoke these words to the College of Cardinals: 
My thoughts turn with great affection and profound gratitude to my venerable Predecessor Benedict XVI, who enriched and invigorated the Church during the years of his Pontificate by his teaching, his goodness, his leadership, his faith, his humility and his meekness. All this remains as a spiritual patrimony for us all. The Petrine ministry, lived with total dedication, found in him a wise and humble exponent, his gaze always firmly on Christ, the risen Christ, present and alive in the Eucharist. 

We will always accompany him with fervent prayers, with constant remembrance, with undying and affectionate gratitude. We feel that Benedict XVI has kindled a flame deep within our hearts: a flame that will continue to burn because it will be fed by his prayers, which continue to sustain the Church on her spiritual and missionary path.