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Please note that this post has mature subject matter, suitable only for adults.

Recently, Pope Francis took exception to ‘fake news’ and advised people not to tell the truth.

Even worse, he accused people of having an innate interest in coprophilia.

Something is wrong with the man.

On December 12, The Guardian reported (emphases mine):

Using striking terminology, Francis said journalists and the media must avoid falling into “coprophilia” – an abnormal interest in excrement. Those reading or watching such stories risked behaving like coprophagics, people who eat faeces, he added.

The pope excused himself for using terminology that some might find repellent. “I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into – no offence intended – the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true,” he said. “And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”

He made the same reference in 2013, before he was elected pope:

… he told the Italian newspaper La Stampa: “Journalists sometimes risk becoming ill from coprophilia and thus fomenting coprophagia, which is a sin that taints all men and women – that is, the tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive aspects.”

Incredible.

Some will wonder if coprophagia is a perversion he suffers from, because it looks as if he is using projection here: falsely accusing others of something you actually do yourself.

Projection is a terrible thing. However, it is a psychological device that is rampant on the Left. The pope has made many left-wing statements over the years.

Now let’s look at what he is objecting to: things that the Podesta WikiLeaks revealed — or in some cases suggested — shortly before the election.

These are things which are probably already known to the authorities. Child molestation rings, for one. This FBI agent began working for the agency during the 1970s and says paedophilia is prevalent among people in authority. He says at the beginning that some politicians have attempted to discredit him. He doesn’t care. In his speech, he links this horrific sin to satanism and drugs. He also says that evidence disappears or is concealed. Whistleblowers can be murdered or falsely imprisoned:

That film, from 2005, is not about Pizzagate, but involves the same things that citizen journalists suspect is going on in Washington DC and elsewhere from having read WikiLeaks. They acknowledge the evidence is circumstantial.

Granted, it is unfortunate that a gunman went into Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor, thought to be the nexus of Pizzagate, in Washington on December 4, but that, too, is rather peculiar. Accounts in Big Media differ as to whether a gunshot was fired. Was it real or a false flag? Who knows?

Going back to Pope Francis, it would appear he does not want alleged or real crimes to be investigated. He would disapprove of the FBI agent in the above film who said he worked on one case for 20 years.

Remember how long it took for the 21st century investigations into paedophilia in the Catholic Church to take place, even though the Boys Town ring was exposed in the 1980s.

Defenders of the pontiff should be aware that in June, he reneged on his proposal to have a special tribunal to prosecute bishops who cover up for paedophile priests. It ran into too much opposition. (Imagine that.)

Pope Francis needs to remember that just as there are sins of commission, there are also sins of omission. When there is evidence that children are being trafficked, sexually abused and/or murdered, it should be investigated. We should also be aware that there are mainstream news sites which promote paedophilia, such as Salon.

He also needs to realise that Big Media are the biggest proponents of fake news. WeAreChange has a good summary of just some of the fake news stories coming from major media outlets. The media also cover up stories that should be reported.

The latest media narrative is that Russia hacked the US election. Furthermore, Donald Trump, news show host Tucker Carlson and even conservative online journalists have been accused of being Russian agents. Yet, there is no evidence for any of those absurd accusations.

But the pope doesn’t care about that.

We have enough obfuscation in the media already without the pope adding to it.

We also don’t need his accusation that all of us have a penchant for coprophilia.

What goes through this man’s mind?

Yesterday’s post discussed the increasing influence of Communist thought among Catholic clergy.

Today’s post continues the theme with an introduction to the proliferation of liberation theology. Tomorrow’s post looks at its Communist origins.

What follows below are excerpts and a summary of an article on Bear Witness, ‘Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Raúl Castro, and the Liberation Theology’. It’s an excellent exploration of the subject from 2015. Emphases mine below.

The Revd Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann:

was minister of Foreign Relations in the communist Sandinista regime of Nicaragua and also president of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the time, Pope John Paul II requested that he leave politics and return full time to the priesthood. D’Escoto refused to do so. Consequently:

In 1984, his Holiness Pope John Paul II punished Miguel D’Escoto for refusing to get out of politics and did not allow him to officiate masses or offer sacraments.

D’Escoto is a big supporter of liberation theology. He is also a Maryknoll priest.

The Maryknoll order is based in New York State. During my childhood, their priests and nuns did marvellous missionary work all over the world. I learned to read partly from perusing their monthly magazine at my mother’s suggestion. By the time I was at university in the late 1970s, my mother and I noticed the tone of the magazine was changing. The order was becoming steeped in liberation theology. My mother stopped donating to them in the 1980s. She couldn’t stand reading the magazine any more. She missed the real mission stories about schools, child care, hospitals and, most importantly, new Christians happy in the Gospel message. Maryknoll had become too political and somewhat anti-American. In fact, Bear Witness tells us:

Some Maryknoll nuns have supported and fought with communist guerrillas.

Returning to D’Escoto, in 2014, Pope Francis lifted John Paul II’s sanctions, allowing him to say Mass and perform other sacerdotal duties. The Bear Witness article says (emphases mine):

By taking this unwise action Pope Francis sent the wrong message of tolerance and acceptance to all the communists within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, many now believe that Pope Francis sympathizes with the Marxist liberation theology of the Church.

Yep.

So:

After the punishment was lifted by Pope Francis, the communist priest Miguel d’Escoto immediately attacked the late Saint Pope John Paul II for “an abuse of authority.”

D’Escoto also said that Cuba’s then-líder máximo was divinely inspired:

Fidel Castro is a messenger of the Holy Spirit in “the necessity of struggle” to establish “the reign of God on this earth that is the alternative to the empire.”

Never mind that:

Totalitarian dictators Fidel and his brother Raúl Castro were responsible for assassinating 14,000 Cuban patriots, jailing over 300,000, and forcing tens of thousands to leave Cuba in rafts and small boats with an estimated 80,000 perish at sea trying to reach Florida. The serial assassin Fidel Castro is the messenger of the devil!

D’Escoto is now 82 years old. Surprisingly, perhaps, he was born in the United States. He was ordained in New York in 1961. Some years later:

He became one of the strongest proponents of the Marxist liberation theology. He collaborated with the National Sandinista Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional).

After the coming to power of the Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega, the communist priest was named Minister of Foreign Relations. When Miguel d’Escoto became President of the United Nations General Assembly, he chose a communist, Howard Zinn, as his personal assistant. Zinn is the author of a communist textbook, A People’s History of the United States, which is used in many universities across the United States by socialist professors.

Howard Zinn as his personal assistant. Hmm.

Ortega is a great ally of Cuba. He also supports a network of Latin and South American countries that are members of:

the communist association ALBA, which was founded by the late Venezuelan communist dictator Hugo Chávez. The extreme radical political parties from these nations as well as those from Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina joined the Foro de São Paulo (FSP; English: São Paulo Forum) with the intent of working with Cuba, China, and Russia to bring communism to Latin America. It was launched by the extreme radical Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil in 1990 in the city of São Paulo.

The São Paulo Forum continues today and has held its conferences in the capitals of most Latin and South American countries with a wide participation from:

more than 100 parties and political organizations … Their political positions vary across a wide spectrum. These political groups include communist parties, armed guerrilla forces, social–democratic parties, extreme radical labor and social movements inspired by the theology of liberation of the Catholic Church, and anti-imperialist and nationalist organizations. For many years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC as is known in Spanish) met with the other radical leftist parties. Since 2005, the FARC had been not been allowed to participate.

But who among us has heard of the São Paulo Forum? Should we be concerned?

Ever since FSP’s first meeting (1990), the approved Declaration expressed the participants’ “willingness to renew leftist and socialist thought…” Hardly any Americans are aware of the danger to our national security present … by the Forum of São Paulo. Obama certainly is not going to tell the nation as he most likely sympathizes with the Marxist[s] and socialist[s] who belong to this anti-American anti-western organization.

There is no convincing leftist Christians (an oxymoron) that liberation theology goes against the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.

In Jesus’s time, there were Zealots — a fringe Jewish group — willing to take up arms against Rome. In fact, Barabbas was thought to be a Zealot. Who did the crowd cry out in favour of on Good Friday? The mob thought that the Zealots could deliver Israel from oppression. That is not what Jesus came for. He came to deliver us from the oppression of sin and bring us to life everlasting.

Like the Zealots, the liberation theology supporters have forgotten that essential message of truth and light. Let’s make sure we don’t fall into their trap.

Tomorrow: the origin of liberation theology

j0313874Something is very wrong with the Catholic Church.

Something has been very wrong with it for decades, but only with the current pope is the rot becoming clear.

The spotlight is shining not only on him but also on renegade clergy. Yes, the Catholics have always had renegade clergy. (So have many Protestant denominations.) However, more and more are coming out of the woodwork, perhaps feeling ‘liberated’ in some sense by Pope Francis.

The following example comes from a former (?) Catholic, Daren Jonescu, who writes for The American Thinker. I commend his ‘Catholics and Communists’ article to everyone. He cites a Catholic priest from South Korea (emphases mine):

South Korea recently observed the third anniversary of the North Korean artillery attack against Yeonpyeong, an inhabited island which was the staging ground for a South Korean military exercise. The attack killed four South Koreans, including two civilians, and wounded many others. The Sunday before this anniversary, a senior Catholic priest, Park Chang-shin, gave a sermon in which he went all-out Jeremiah Wright [in damning his homeland, Wright being Obama’s former pastor]:

What should North Korea do if South Korea-U.S. military exercises are being carried out near the problematic NLL [Northern Limit Line, a UN-drawn maritime border]? North Korea needs to open fire. That was the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

“North Korea needs to open fire”? This statement was part of a general campaign by the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (which comprises roughly half of Korea’s priesthood) against President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party. The CPAJ, active since South Korea’s pro-democracy movement picked up steam in the 1970s, is essentially a leftist anti-war group promoting Korean reunification through appeasement of the communists, as evidenced by its two main platform items: opposition to sanctions against the North, and opposition to the South’s “National Security Law,” which in theory outlaws communism and Marxist activism, and is therefore vehemently opposed by all organizations sympathetic to the North.

In response, a member of the Saenuri Party enjoined the Catholic Church to discipline its pro-North Korean priests. Needless to say, the Church will do no such thing.

Jonescu says that the Catholic Church is wrapped up in social justice aspects of Marxism and Communism. While the Church must reject the atheism of both, they have latched on not only to social justice but also to economic redistribution and the condemnation of financial security on moral grounds. Those dubious moral grounds are quickly becoming part of Catholic theology.

The Catholic Church is turning ever leftwards and this is overshadowing the Gospel message. Jonescu says most of the hierarchy — wherever they are in the world — are socialist and some clearly Marxist.

The pope has railed about:

The “new tyranny,” that of the pursuit of wealth, is “invisible and virtual”; and its only remedy is “state control,” i.e., visible and real tyranny. Pope Francis promotes the standard false dichotomy that has propelled progressivism forward for more than a century: the “uncontrolled free market” (a Marxist straw man if ever there was one) allegedly consolidates wealth among the few, while state controls (which are supposedly lacking) would allow the disadvantaged majority to rise. This dichotomy is, and always has been, a ruse to hide the truth: progressives regulate and distort the economy to protect their power, wealth, and privilege and to limit opportunity for potential challengers, and then they seize on the stagnation they have caused to launch populist appeals for even more restrictive and redistributive economic regulations, to further entrench their untouchable pre-eminence. (Take a good look at who supported, funded, and led the fight for the creation of compulsory schools, central banks, progressive taxation, socialized healthcare, and all the rest of the mechanisms of benevolent “control” throughout the prosperous West. Hint: it wasn’t the poor.)

Any decent Catholic clergy who disagree with the Left are marginalised, Jonescu says. He concludes:

The Catholic Church is no more defensible than any other institution that continues, against all historical evidence, reason, and decency, to embrace and defend — whether tacitly or openly — the politics of mass envy, of collectivist authoritarianism, of coercive redistribution of the fruits of men’s labor, and of the practical denial of the basic right of self-determination that ought to be at the core of a Catholic teaching that upholds the dignity of every living soul.

As the pope’s Year of Mercy draws to a close, notice that he spoke a lot about welcoming uninvited and illegal migrants. Europe is paying a deadly price for the tidal wave of millions coming in over the past few years.

It is unfortunate that his Year of Mercy did not extend to persecuted Christians. Maybe they were not on message enough with Marxism.

What a week and it’s only Tuesday! Lots of news to cover in the days ahead.

On Monday, November 28, 2016, Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, warned that Pope Francis:

may not know the Communist persecutors who have killed hundreds of thousands.

The Guardian reported that the Pope is working on an agreement whereby Chinese officials could have a hand in approving Catholic bishops.

Zen criticised the move, pointing out that it would be:

a surrender

and

betraying Jesus Christ.

Zen made his remarks at the Salesian English School in Hong Kong, where, at age 84, he is still a teacher. He added:

Maybe the pope is a little naive, he doesn’t have the background to know the Communists in China. The pope used to know the persecuted Communists [in Latin America], but he may not know the Communist persecutors who have killed hundreds of thousands.

It’s amazing that anyone the Pope’s age would not know the statistics and nature of Chinese Communists, but perhaps the Cardinal was being charitable.

Currently, Chinese Catholics are free to worship at state-approved churches. The state-controlled China Catholic Patriotic Association appoints their bishops.

However, an underground network of Catholic churches also exists, thought to attract many more Catholics than the state churches.

Why does the Vatican seek this new agreement? Zen explained:

With “fake freedom” under a proposed deal, priests could more easily preach and more churches would open, Zen predicted, but “it’s only the impression of freedom, it’s not real freedom, the people sooner or later will see the bishops are puppets of the government and not really the shepherds of the flock.”

“The official bishops are not really preaching the gospel,” Zen added “They are preaching obedience to Communist authority.”

That brings to mind the warning from Jeremiah about leading one’s flock astray. The Pope and clergy agreeing with him on this subject might have a lot to answer for one day.

Oddly, some Chinese Catholics welcome the proposed Vatican agreement, still under negotiation for the foreseeable future:

“If they could really strike a deal, not only would us Catholics be happy, but all of the Chinese people should rejoice,” said Zhao, 36, who has been a Catholic for 20 years and works at the oldest Catholic church in China, close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He declined to give his full name because of the sensitivity of discussing religion.

“Chinese society needs faith right now,” he added, saying a warming of ties would increase the number of Catholics, “which is a benefit to all society”.

The Guardian says that China has an estimated 10m Catholics and 90m Protestants. The New York Times gives a more conservative estimate of 60m Christians.

Protestant churches are also required to be registered with the Chinese state and operate within government rules.

Unregistered Protestant churches are actively vandalised by the state:

a recent campaign by authorities in eastern China has seen more than 1,200 crosses removed from buildings and churches demolished.

The New York Times has more on vandalism and arrests concerning the Salvation Church and the Living Stone Church, both of which are unregistered and deemed to be dangerous to the state.

Pope Francis displays a remarkably consistent disparagement of Western Christians.

Again and again, he tells them how lacking they are in charity and compassion.

Year after year, he refuses to acknowledge them even on Maundy Thursday, one of the holiest and most solemn days of the Church calendar. Instead, he goes to wash the feet of non-Christians who have no cognisance of Christ’s reasons for washing those of His apostles. This happened again on March 24, 2016. At least there were some Christians, including Copts, in that group, which is an improvement on his first year when all nearly all were Muslim prison inmates. The Christian prisoner had to explain to them what was happening. The others giggled.

His Urbi et Orbi speeches pursue the same theme. Westerners are bad people, caring nothing for anyone but themselves. On Easter Day, March 27, 2016, he once again told them to take in more refugees and migrants. After all, they, too, are only looking for a better life:

The Easter message of the risen Christ, a message of life for all humanity, echoes down the ages and invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice. All too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance.

Le Monde‘s readers gave him short shrift indeed, and rightly so. Excerpts of their comments follow, translation mine:

Never has Europe taken in so many migrants as in the past few decades … For a long time now the overriding narrative has been that this is a ‘chance for France and for Europe’; today with the decline and serious problems linked to this evolution, the majority of people no longer believe it and will tune it out whether it comes from the EU or the Pope.

The Pope is aware that Europe is becoming areligious … The Vatican insists that Islam be present everywhere and supported by public powers … Religions have become interdependent on one another for their long-term survival, regardless of their compatibility.  

The Pope’s position on migrants seems absurd: never has Europe been so open and seen its population change at such high speed. It would be better to appeal for aid in situ, in refugee camps … But the Church, in its historic global collaboration with the system must support the basic interests of the globalist oligarchy.

It’s staggering that the Pope advocates breaking the law: illegal immigration. Yet, would one expect anything less from him?

The sexual assaults in Cologne took place nearly three weeks ago.

Since then, views on mass migration into Europe do not appear to have changed substantially. We still have the same two sides: those who say we have a moral obligation to take in millions of strangers and those who see the continuing migration as destructive to Western values.

Several news stories at the weekend illustrate the two points of view.

An article in The Guardian tells us that Czech president Milos Zeman said in a television interview that integrating Muslims into Western society was ‘practically impossible’. His take is that the Muslim Brotherhood financing the migratory flow in an effort to ‘gradually control Europe’.

On the other hand, the Pope said a special Mass for 5,000 migrant worshippers at St Peter’s yesterday to mark the world day of migrants and refugees. In a separate address, he encouraged European governments to continue accommodating newcomers en masse.

The Telegraph reported on a quiet protest in Stuttgart where well-meaning Germans marched against attacks on migrants. The protest was organised by churches and trade unions. Poster slogans read ‘no sexism, no racism’.

Yet, that evening, it emerged that three adolescents of North African origin harassed and attempted to stone two middle-aged transgender persons in Dortmund, not far from the main railway station. The Telegraph has the story:

The two victims, named only as Yasmine, 50, and Elisa, 37, under Germany privacy laws, came forward in a television interview to describe how the youths turned on them when they realised they were transgender.

“Within seconds they were pushing us around. It was only then that I realised what they were saying: ‘You sluts need to be stoned!’” Elisa told Sat1 television on Saturday evening.

“And that’s what they did. They grabbed gravel from the ground and threw it at us.”

“Before that they tried to hit on us. For them, that’s OK. But when they realised we were transgender, they felt their honour was hurt. That’s why they snapped.”

Fortunately the incident was seen by a passing police patrol.

The two elder assailants — aged 17 and 18 — already have police records. The youngest, 16, was released to the custody of his parents.

That night, 300 police officers in Düsseldorf raided an area of the city dubbed ‘little Maghreb’ near the main railway station there in an attempt to arrest North African gang members responsible for what authorities described as:

bag-snatching, luggage theft, street robberies and drug offences.

Interestingly, Germany has not yet classified Morocco and Algeria as ‘safe’ countries. As a result, ‘thousands’ of asylum seekers arrived in Germany from these two nations in the latter half of last year. They have little chance of their cases being accepted. However, when Germany has attempted to deport them, their home countries have refused to take them back. Could a criminal record have anything to do with it? No doubt, Morocco and Algeria are glad to have got rid of them.

This reminds me of an anecdote I read during the Arab Spring a few years ago. The event opened up migration out of North Africa, with a number of supposedly persecuted individuals coming to Europe to pursue criminality. One law-abiding North African said they would never be allowed back to their countries of origin for that reason. But I digress.

Near Cologne, the local council of Bornheim, a town with 48,000 residents, has banned adult asylum seekers from the public swimming pool because they cannot behave themselves. Deputy mayor Markus Schnapka said that women using the pool complained they were being verbally and sexually harrassed.

The town of Rheinberg has decided to cancel its pre-Lenten carnival parade this year, given the events on New Year’s Eve in nearby Cologne. Local officials said they cannot guarantee the level of security  required.

Meanwhile, Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants a special petrol tax applicable in all 26 Schengen countries to pay for the refugee crisis. The tax would contribute to securing the external Schengen borders against additional migrants. The truth is that Germany is overwhelmed and:

may be forced to close its own, the influential finance minister warned. Such a move could prove fatal to the Schengen Agreement.

Most ordinary people outside of Germany would simply shrug their shoulders. Getting rid of Schengen is not exactly going to inhibit free movement. It only means re-instituting passport checks at the border, which, given the present climate, is not a bad idea. The UK is not a Schengen country, and we have plenty of immigration.

Also at the weekend, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, took issue with European governments as well as refugees on the migration issue. Junker complained that migrants were ‘arrogant’ for wanting to settle in Germany. He was also upset with member states for not taking their share of newcomers. The Telegraph reported:

“We cannot have a situation where those that come to Europe then decide rather arrogantly for themselves where they want to live. That is not possible. That is absolutely not on.

“It is not the refugees responsible for dividing up refugees – it is the member states. No refugee has an innate right to decide or refuse to be sent to a particular country.”

Mr Juncker also urged nations to stop reintroducing border controls to halt the migrant flow, warning it could have “unimaginable” consequences for the economy by halting the flow of trade and ultimately destroying the single currency.

Trade would not stop because of border controls. Goods flowed freely when they were in place before Schengen, a recent agreement established in 1995 made for a time when Europe was expected to remain a relatively safe continent.

In closing, The Guardian reports that one Muslim is giving a crash course to newcomers about the German way of life. Retired pharmacist Magdi Gohary, 74, and originally from Egypt, visits a large migrant camp outside of Munich. In ‘Learn to Understand Germany’, he explains that behaviours which are illegal in Muslim countries are legal in Germany and Europe. He also tells them they will have to learn to integrate into German society in order to be accepted.

Gohary said the past year revealed a mismatch of expectations on the part of both refugees and Germans. Germans assumed the migrants would integrate easily. Migrants, on the other hand, expect much more than the government can provide.

The Guardian also interviewed a 44-year-old engineer from Morocco who, like Gohary, has lived in Germany for decades. The engineer said that it is high time that Angela Merkel reverses her migration plan. It is not working. Furthermore, it is putting law-abiding, long-term immigrants in danger from vigilante attacks. He lives in Cologne and says that the atmosphere has changed considerably since New Year’s Eve.

Thomas Bönig, who gives tours of the city, agrees. What he says was ‘joy’ a few months ago on the part of welcoming local residents has now turned to ‘frustration’. More mismatched expectations.

To be continued tomorrow.

Confessional readingeaglecomI was confused reading the articles about the Pope’s permission for priests to forgive the sin of abortion in the upcoming Jubilee Year which starts on December 8, 2015 and ends on November 26, 2016.

The BBC had the best explanation:

In most countries, only a bishop can approve forgiveness for abortion. They would then delegate an expert priest to hear the confession.

I didn’t know that. I assumed that priests could forgive any sin, provided the supplicant was truly contrite for the past and repentant for the future.

That is true only in certain countries. In the case of the United Kingdom:

the rule relaxation will not affect Catholics in England, Wales and Scotland as all priests there can already forgive abortion without seeking permission from a bishop.

Other news outlets could have explained this better, but who expects modern media to ask enough questions?

In any event, this is not a new ‘forgiveness’ for past abortions, as such absolution is nothing new in the Catholic Church. This simply extends it to a priest’s discretion during the Jubilee Year.

Let us hope it is not misread by young women as meaning they have permission to proceed with an abortion now — notionally in good conscience (I use the words advisedly) — and be forgiven for it in a few months’ time.

On Heidelblog, Dr R Scott Clark recently featured a quote critiquing Pope Francis’s theology.

The quote comes from D C McAllister who writes for The Federalist. Her article is entitled ‘Pope Francis Does Not Get the Gospel’.

I encourage everyone who thinks Jesus’s messages were about economic comfort to read what she has to say in her very thorough examination of the New Testament.

As Catholics and Protestants know, Pope Francis, whilst working in the opulence of the Vatican, plays frequently on middle-class money guilt:

“Poverty is at the very center of the Gospel,” Pope Francis declared. “If we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus.”

McAllister posits that whilst economic poverty appears in the New Testament, so does spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is more important and what Christ came to relieve through His ministry, death on the Cross and overcoming death in His Resurrection.

She writes (emphases mine):

Francis is reminiscent, in some ways, of the disciples in Bethany. While Jesus was there, a woman anointed him with expensive perfume. When the disciples (and especially Judas) saw what she did, they became indignant and said, “Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Jesus rebuked them. “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

To rightly interpret this scene from Matthew 26 (repeated in Mark 14 and John 12) and to understand why putting material poverty at the center of the gospel is so terribly wrong, we need to look at a verse from the Old Testament that Jesus is quoting. When he says, “The poor you will always have with you,” he is referring to a passage in Deuteronomy 15, which tells of canceling debts in Israel every seven years. At that time, every creditor was commanded to cancel any loan made “by a fellow Israelite.” This was not a grace extended to foreigners—only to God’s people. “You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you.” If God’s people were perfectly obedient, there wouldn’t be any poor in Israel (although there would be in the rest of the world).

She observes that even Israelites found this hard to obey, and poverty still existed. We have lived in a fault-filled fallen world since the moment of Original Sin.

But, returning to Francis, she says:

Money has nothing to do with the gospel. When Francis says material poverty is integral to the gospel, he is robbing people of the true message of salvation and the grace of Christ. If material poverty is the “center of the gospel,” Christ is no longer at the center of the gospel. Grace is no longer at the center. Only materialism and works. Francis has, with this statement, exchanged the truth for a lie.

E Burns, a Heidelblog reader, hit the nail on the head with his comment, which reads (in part):

Interesting read on the Pope. The social gospel is sadly alive and well. Truly no better than the health wealth prosperity gospel. Whether social or prosperity gospel or the “you always need to do more” gospel, or “be more monk like” gospel or Jesus plus my works gospel or Jesus plus my……fill the blank, it will always fall far and away short of The Biblical Gospel.

Pope Francis has indeed with this statement, exchanged the truth for a lie.

Money won’t buy us happiness, virtue or Salvation, but neither will poverty. Getting the Gospel right is the preeminent theological, Biblical, and life issue humans face. So many false ones out there. So crucial to the very Salvation of a person and properly giving glory to God is this issue, that the apostle Paul declared anyone changing it or otherwise adding to it should be cursed. Even if a sweet sounding angel from heaven should attempt it, we should not listen. Galatians 1:1-10

Economic poverty and, more importantly, spiritual poverty will exist until the end of time. Some of the former occurs because of injustice, corruption and indifference. It can also depend on individuals’ immoderate lifestyle choices which the West tries to correct through the welfare state: ‘Some people cannot help themselves so we need to keep bailing them out for the rest of their lives’.

Logically, some of us would call perpetually taking state taxpayer money for that purpose theft. The welfare state was intended for a hand-up, not a hand-out. It is based on the same principle as the Israelites’ forgiveness of debts every several years. Unfortunately, it has blown out of all proportion.

Pope Francis spends little time talking about grace, but then, the Catholic notion of grace is not viewed doctrinally as a merciful gift from a loving God, but as a state of being involving something one must work for to achieve periodically and ephemerally.

Presumably, Francis can only preach about economic unfairness in order to remain palatable to a worldwide audience. To speak of Christ bringing us salvation as the principal mission of His ministry, death and rising again would offend those of other faiths.

It’s a lamentable state of affairs — worse yet, a false understanding of the Gospel, which is misleading to many.

Admittedly, he’s not the only clergyman guilty of this. I can think of a number of Protestants, too. However, none of them is in the public eye as much as the Pope.

The Telegraph reports that Pope Francis is finalising an encyclical on climate change, scheduled to be released in a few weeks’ time.

Whereas his predecessor Benedict XVI was a sceptic in these matters, Francis is convinced that man is responsible for climate change.

Yet, there are also natural factors to consider, such as sun activity. The British long-range weather forecaster Piers Corbyn has made it his mission to study solar movements and track the related drops in temperature as well as the increase in storms and natural disasters. Corbyn doubts the climate change hypothesis — some would say truth — of the CO2 crowd:

WeatherAction is involved in the Global Warming /Climate Change debate where we point out that the world is now cooling not warming and there is no observational evidence in the thousands and millions of years of data that changes in CO2 have any effect on weather or climate. There are no scientists in the world who can produce such observational data. There is only effect the other way, namely that ocean temperatures control average CO2 levels.

My readers will no doubt be more familiar with the long-running Watts Up With That? which is an excellent source of information questioning the received paradigms on climate change.

First, it would be helpful if Pope Francis came out with a balanced statement, although it is likely to be one that pounds the middle classes for being too wasteful, thereby harming the environment. It seems unlikely that individual human acts can so significantly alter climate. It is also doubtful that even emerging countries disregarding the adoption of Western-style clean air legislation could accomplish this. The forces of nature and God’s sovereignty are much more powerful.

Secondly, it will be interesting to see exactly how Francis posits this encyclical with Catholics. Will he declare it infallible until the next Pope changes tack? Who knows? In any event, practising Catholics are obliged to obey or at least give serious consideration to this upcoming position paper.

It will be interesting to see what Francis has to say.

Mothering Sunday in Great Britain is on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Although we are increasingly adopting the American ‘Mother’s Day’, the original name has religious significance.

It derives from an ancient tradition of people travelling back to their ‘mother’ church on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, or Laetare Sunday.  The ‘mother’ church was the one in which they had grown up.  This tradition derives from the Epistle reading which states that the source of our joy should be in knowing that we are sons of God looking forward to redemption through the risen Christ.  (The faithful celebrate Christ’s Resurrection at Easter, the greatest of all Church feasts.)

Because transport was difficult and travel lengthy — people journeyed home by horse, carriage or on foot — it was also a special occasion for their families.  Those who made this trip were said to be going ‘a-mothering’. This carried a double meaning of pilgrimage to their church and a visit to their mother. The Canterbury Tales blog says the custom lasted for 300 years and ended sometime in the 19th century.

Simnel cake (pictured above), now served more often at Easter, was the traditional cake shared on this particular day.

In terms of church services, celebrants in the Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal and Lutheran churches often wear a rose-coloured vestment on this Sunday recalling Isaiah 63:2:

Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress?

In the Middle Ages Pope Leo XIII compared the ‘sweet odour of Christ’ to a rose. A papal tradition, that of the Golden Rose, began as a result of this contemplation. The Pope commissions a goldsmith to craft a rose — one bloom or many — which is then given to a worthy Catholic for his or her service to the Church and to humanity. The Golden Rose is not distributed every year, although it has been given to a deserving recipient most years over the past Millennium.

Laetare — the first word of the traditional Introit — means ‘rejoice’, as in ‘Rejoice, Jerusalem’. It is a time to focus on the glory of the Risen Christ in hope and joy as well as contemplate His upcoming Passion.

I mentioned earlier the custom of returning to one’s mother church. After the service, the congregation went outdoors to gather around the church and ‘clip’ it — holding hands to embrace it.

My best wishes go to all British mothers on Laetare Sunday. May it be a well-deserved occasion of joy and happiness.

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