Infantilizing the Church.

Beneath the apple tree: 
there I took you for my own, 
there I offered you my hand, 
and restored you, 
where your mother was corrupted.

– St. John of the Cross (stanza 23 of the Spiritual Canticle).

I read this stanza this evening to my 11 and 8 year olds. The 8 year old loves the romance and imagery of the Spiritual Canticle and is naturally poetic herself. The 11 year old is very bright and immediately picks up on the fact that this stanza is talking about the apple tree in the Garden of Eden and Eve. I go on to explain that the wood of the tree is also symbolic of the Cross. We talk about the fact that St John of the Cross always talks about things that go on in the depths of our hearts, and also the ups and downs in our relationship with God. We notice this especially in the words ‘corrupted’ and ‘restored’.

My 8 year old tells me that she thinks she understands it in her heart but not in her head! I tell her that is perfectly ok because St John often speaks more to our hearts than he does to our heads. The 11 year old goes on to talk about what ‘restored’ means, and links it back to a computer game he likes to play. He gets it. They are both eager to read the next stanza tomorrow night.

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

All of this is a far cry from “I wish I was a Butterfly” and all the other regular offenders that are spoon fed to my kids at children’s liturgies up and down the country. My 11 year old finds that absolutely cringeworthy now and so do I. I often find children’s liturgy is obsessed with making the children as physically active as possible during the Mass – which I believe to be a mistake. If our minds are completely taken up with actions and songs and carrying things in the offertory or watching our friends do bidding prayers, then when is the time for learning to properly, internally actively participate in the Mass?

I think that one of the biggest mistakes we make in children’s liturgy is to try to keep the children entertained. This teaches them from the word go that Church is somewhere you go to watch a show. And when they get a bit older, and that show is still the same show they were watching when they were 5 years old, they don’t want to go see that show anymore because it’s babyish. Their internal spiritual life has been neglected, and has not had a chance to mature past “This little light of mine”. Of course they are going to reject it. They are not stupid.

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Last week I heard that there was outrage in a Catholic Parish over a homily given at a First Holy Communion Mass. Apparently some of the parents felt the day had been ruined, and the children ‘traumatized’ because the priest had talked about the Eucharist being Jesus’ real flesh and blood. One has to ask the question what exactly has been going on here? But it is clear from this catastrophe that we are now looking at a 3rd generation of Catholics who have not been adequately evangelised or catechised. Whatever we have been doing for the last 3 generations has got us to this point. Something needs to change.

Another big mistake that I believe the church has made is to take evangelisation out of the home and into the catechist classroom. Now I am not saying that all Catechists are bad – far from it, most of them are absolutely brilliant. However, the faith is something that cannot be truly learned in a classroom. It needs to be witnessed through example. Parents are the first and most influential educators of their children, and it truly believe that if they are not living the faith at home, then there is very little chance their children will carry on the faith into their adulthood.

I do not think I am wrong in saying here that most Catholic parents today have good intention, but very little in terms of their own catechesis and evangelisation. In my experience, your average First Communion parent does not pray regularly, if at all, does not frequent the sacraments and does not own a Bible. And I must make it very clear here that it is not my intention to blame the parents for this. Quite the contrary – I am fighting their corner. It is not their fault they have not been taught properly.

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When the church decided to catechise children in the classroom, it seperated knowledge from lived example. Now this was not a problem until catechesis took a turn for the worse in the 1960’s. At that point, the first generation of children were lost to guitars, the socialist Gospel, and little fluffy baby Jesus. When these children grew up and became parents, that is all they had to pass on to their children. This pattern continued into the next generation, and the next, and here we are today. The difficulty now is that the previous two generations have been left as spiritual infants – almost completely unable to offer any sort of evangelisation or catechesis to their own children, and so once again it is being left to those outside of the family home.

Now, you can have the best catechist in the entire world, and have a child who knows the New Testament off by heart. But if that child then goes back to a home where the faith is not lived with any maturity, and Church extends to some old boomer bashing out songs on their guitar from the 1960’s because ‘that’s what the young people like’, then at best the cycle of infantesized Catholic spirituality will be repeated once again. At worst, and more often than not, it will just be rejected. These kids are not rejecting the Catholic faith, they are rejecting the infantilised version of it that they, their parents and Grandparents have been spoonfed over the last 50 years or so.

Older children and teenagers will continue to find Mass boring and ultimately leave the church for as long as we keep them infantilised. And we will never break this cycle of misplaced catechesis until we begin to respect the fact that parents are the first and most influential educators of their children, and alert them to this fact. We need to equip and empower them to carry out this fundamentally important role that we have taken away from them.

This infantilization of the faith needs to stop. Today.

St. John of the Cross pray for us.

World Meeting of Families 2018 vestment competition winner!

Today it was announced that the World Meeting of Families has found a winner for its vestment competition! The winner is a Year 5 pupil from a school in Killaloe diocese in Ireland.

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I am very excited for her! She has obviously worked very hard and should feel extremely proud of herself for such a wonderful achievement. And I’m in no doubt that her family and her Parish are extremely proud of her too. Her design has now been sent to Italy to be made into a real Chasuble to be worn by Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August.

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This seems to be the second vestments competition the World Meeting of Families has run – this time only for children.

You may remember I entered the origional competition just before Christmas, and then received a letter in March from the Secretary General – Fr Timothy Bartlett, explaining that despite many entries, a winner could not be found.

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Many of you have been asking me to reveal the design I submitted. I decided to keep it very Irish and so decided to make a Celtic knot that incorporated the Holy Trinity triangular symbol flowing into a heart symbol. I thought this was a great way of showing how God is woven into family life. I even made it in real life just to see how it would work. I was very pleased with it. Celtic knots work so well as embroidery.

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We were allowed to enter 3 designs. This was my favorite:

Green Pugin

I chose a Pugin shape with a large black and gold orphrey. I was also asked to write a blurb about my design:

“I designed this vestment to show how God is entwined into our Marriages and families: the joys, sorrows, challenges and victories that every family faces. Its timeless beauty will be fitting for the Liturgy for generations to come.

The Celtic knot embroidery is made up of a heart representing marriage and family that flows into a triangular knot which represents the Holy Trinity. You can see from how the knot is created that it is impossible to separate the Holy Trinity from family life. God is present through our love for each other, prayer and reception of the sacraments – especially Baptism, Marriage and when we receive Holy Eucharist.

The knot also signifies the indissolubility of Marriage (it cannot be undone), and reminds us that the sacrament of marriage is not just made up of the Husband and Wife: God is truly present in the sacrament giving the couple a grace and strength to draw on that is bigger than just themselves.

The black orphrey represents the deceased members of our families whom we must continue to love by praying for them, safe in the knowledge that by God’s grace we will be reunited with them one day in eternal life.”     

I guess my ideas were just not the sort of thing they were looking for. Never mind – I had great fun entering. Incidentally – I also learned today that Fr. James Martin has just been announced as the keynote speaker.

 

An open letter to Cardinal Vincent Nichols regarding Alfie Evans: “Do not abandon us to the culture of death.”

Dear Cardinal Nichols,

I read your statement on the Alfie Evans case with extreme sadness and disbelief. I felt that you sided with the culture of death that is so prevalent in our society today, rather than standing up for Gospel values of life, hope, love and mercy. In this letter, I want to explore some of the things you said, and also try to get to the root of why you took the hospitals side, rather than that of Alfie and his parents.

You said: “Wisdom enables us to make decisions based on full information, and many people have taken a stand on Alfie’s case in recent weeks who didn’t have such information and didn’t serve the good of this child…” I can only assume from this statement that you had more medical and legal information available to you than the public had?

Did you know about the horrendous neglect Alfie was experiencing at the hospital?

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I have spoken to several parents who have had, and are still having terrible experiences at Alder Hey. Alder Hey has one of the worst reputations of any hospital I have ever come across. As a Liverpool boy yourself, I would have thought you would be well informed on the reputation of this hospital. And even If you weren’t, Bishop McMahon and his Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Williams live only 8 miles from Alder Hey. It would be difficult for them to claim they were unaware of what was going on at their local hospital.

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These pictures of Alfie have been shared over 22k times on social media. Didn’t any of your advisors alert you to them? Did you not know the only reason Alfie was given oxygen and food a whole day after he had been extubated was because his father Tom threatened a complaint, since the death protocol approved by Judge Hayden spoke neither of deprivation of oxygen nor of suspension of nutrition? Did you really not know about any of this? I have spoken to people who were in the courtroom when Alfie was given his death sentence, and they have told me that they have never had such a close and harrowing encounter with the culture of death.

In actual fact I sincerely hope you were not correctly informed of the situation at Alder Hey, because if you were informed, and you still chose to support it, that would be a far greater and more disturbing problem.

What about the scandal at Alder Hey in 1999, when organs were removed from babies who died at the hospital. Hospital staff also kept and stored 400 foetuses collected from hospitals around the north west of England. Did you not know about this?

And then there was the scandal of 2003 when Alder hey removed 5 year old Amy Enright’s thymus gland during an operation when they treated her for a defective heart. Her parents found out that her thymus gland had been “commercially bartered or sold” by the hospital in exchange for hospital equipment with a pharmaceutical company. Alder Hey removed and sold a body part from a living patient. Did you not know about this either?

This was all headline news over several decades, which leads me to believe that you must have been aware of Alder Hey’s reputation.

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Were you aware of how badly the family were being treated by the hospital? They would not even give Alfie’s mum a couch to sleep on during the last few days of Alfie’s life. His parents had to sleep on the hospital floor next to their dying child.

Did the hospital chaplain not report this information back to you or to Archbishop McMahon? Archbishop McMahon said “I am grateful for the medical and chaplaincy care which Alfie is receiving… I know that they are doing everything that his humanly possible.” He then stressed that the hospital’s chaplaincy team have offered pastoral support to Alfie’s family and staff at the hospital since the child was admitted in December 2016, so I would have imagined they would have got to know the family very well indeed, right? Yet the diocese did not even realise Tom and Alfie Evans were both Catholic – a fact which was emphasised in the February judgment and had therefore been well known for two months. How did the hospital chaplain manage to miss this basic fact if the family had been there since December 2016?

It seems to me that that family were not being supported by the chaplain or by the diocese. That is why the Italian priest came to minister to them and to Alfie in their time of great need. And why was this priest then suddenly called back to his parish after a firm phone call to those in charge of him? I guess once he was out of the way, the Liverpool chaplain could then offer the family much more politically correct diocesan approved support and finally be seen to be doing their job.

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Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool Diocese Thomas Williams.  Chairman of the Healthcare Reference Group of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Who is in charge of hospital Chaplaincy in England and wales anyway? Would that be Archbishop McMahons Auxillary Bishop Thomas Williams? He was the one who reportedly wrote the first official statement by Liverpool diocese on the Alfie case because Archbishop McMahon was away in Rome at the time. He also happens to be the current Chairman of the Healthcare Reference Group of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, so that would put him in charge of hospital chaplaincy I guess? Was he not aware of what was going on at Alder Hey?

Forgive me for saying so, but if the Chairman of the Healthcare Reference Group of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales does not know what is going on in his own local hospital, especially during a high profile case, then I would have to question his ability to carry out his role effectively. But that would be giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think it is more likely that he was well aware of what goes on at Alder Hey, just like Archbishop McMahon knows and you know, and you are all completely on board with it. And that is the scariest thing of all.

Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool diocese.

Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool diocese.

The reason I say this is because you told the Polish Bishops last week that “When we discuss the Church’s doctrine here (UK), we must often construct a dialogue on arguments about society’s common good.”  Now for someone who said a few moments before, that “Unfortunately, there were also some who used the (Alfie) situation for political aims.” this seems like a very political thing to say. It sounds like to me that you are trying to fit into the politically correct narrative of UK politics. Is this the case? If it is then we really are all in trouble.

Your comments seem to suggest that you felt that Alfie Evans’ death was in his best interests and the interest of society. The “experts” no doubt informed you that it was. But what do you regard as being “society’s’ common good”?

You are a much more educated person that I am, so I am sure you are fully informed on the fact that society has had a paradigm shift from classical medical ethics to modern Bioethics over the last 50 years or so. There has been a growth in debate over problems pertaining to medical ethical practice. Doctors are no longer finding solutions to these problems in the Hippocratic ethical model. A new set of modern values are emerging – namely, utilitarianism.

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Is this what you meant by “society’s’ common good”?

The British medical system and courts determined that Alfie had to die because of the working assumption that death is preferable to life for disabled people. This utilitarian concept is why you felt that it was in Alfie’s best interests that he should die. I say this because you criticised those trying to save Alfie stating that they “didn’t serve the good of this child”.

It is becoming increasingly clear that you do not oppose this utilitarian ethical ideology.

I remember in 2013 when a group of senior Catholic doctors said that your Bishops’ conference report about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) (known in Catholic circles as the Liverpool Death Pathway) “borders on the disingenuous” adding that it “goes to extreme lengths to align support for the LCP with Catholic teaching”. The report also said that the LCP is not ‘inherently unethical’ but has been ‘badly implemented’. Why were you so keen to try to align a programme of euthanasia with Catholic teaching?

Cardinal Nichols, this is the culture of death, and you are supporting it.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

You also said “It’s very hard to act in a child’s best interest when this isn’t always as the parents would wish – and this is why a court must decide what’s best not for the parents, but for the child.” This is truly one of the most disturbing things I have ever heard a Cardinal say. How is it possible that a Catholic Cardinal can side with those who have stripped the parents of all their authority, so they can legally end their child’s life?

As a mother of 3 children, I can now see you have no desire to defend my rights as a parent, which are being further and further eroded away by the state. It is becoming more and more apparent that you were quite happy to sacrifice Alfie Evans and his parents on the altar of political correctness rather than stand up to an increasingly totalitarian state.

People all over the UK are now having conversations about the amount of power the state now holds over the people. The time has come where you need to decide whether it is any longer appropriate for you to continue trying to fit in with the state, or whether it is time to take a stand against it. You can’t do both, and you can’t do nothing.

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With the deepest respect, may I remind you that Christianity is, and has always been counter cultural. Jesus was counter cultural.

Your comment “When we discuss the Church’s doctrine here (UK), we must often construct a dialogue on arguments about society’s common good.”  Sounds to me like you are suggesting that Church doctrine should bend to fit the politically correct utilitarian narrative. This would involve watering down and compromising Catholic doctrine, or worse still, twisting and distorting it to fit the PC narrative. Whilst this approach has kept you in good stead with the establishment, the consequence is that you have been proclaiming a version of the Gospel that is, at its heart, compromised.

I believe this compromised approach to the Gospel has contributed massively to the current lack of vocations and falling numbers of practising Catholics in the UK.

It is time to decide where your heart really lies. If you decide to take a stand against the state, you will lose your powerful friends in the establishment, and become unpopular in secular circles. You may no longer get asked to be the key-note speaker at high profile events and society dinners. You will lose your social status among Britain’s elites. But you will remain faithful to Christ.

If you decide to continue compromising the faith in order to fit in with the modern values of secularism and utilitarianism, you will remain popular with your powerful friends but you will cause further harm to the Church and to society. With respect, I must remind you that your ambition, popularity and your career come second to your vocation as servant of Christ and the Church.

My dear Cardinal, remaining faithful to the Gospel in the UK has cost me dearly. I have lost friends and even family members. I lost my wedding cake business to gay marriage. But I am willing to suffer, because I love God and He is good. I hope you are willing to suffer too.

Tom and Alfie Evans.

Tom and Alfie Evans.

If you truly were not aware of things I have written about Alfie in this letter, then I’m sure you will agree that a statement of clarity, or perhaps even an apology to the family for your previous statement would not go a miss.

But if you did know about all these things, and you were willing to turn a blind eye to parents being stripped of their authority so the state could murder their child, then I beg you Cardinal Nichols, to remember who you are. You are here as God’s servant, to lead the people of the UK in the fight against this great evil that has infiltrated our culture and seeks to rob us of our human dignity. You are not here to compromise the faith by lying in bed with the establishment, or to focus on your own ambitions.

Forgive me for saying so, but if you are unable or unwilling to lead us in this fight, then you need to pass the baton to someone who will, because we are at crisis point.

We are all praying for you.

Yours sincerely and with great respect,

Clare Short.

 

Sources:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/3034057.stm  http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/05/08/doctors-criticise-bishops-report-into-liverpool-care-pathway/   http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/8958/alder-hey-doing-everything-humanly-possible-to-help-alfie-says-archbishop  https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/lawyers-media-on-alfie-theyve-killed-him  http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/8990/nichols-backs-hospital-staff-in-alfie-evans-case  http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/april-27th-2018/alfie-evans-the-courts-and-the-church/   https://whatisupwiththesynod.com/index.php/2018/04/25/the-smiling-executioner-when-death-becomes-a-social-obligation/

Rosary on the coast: regaining our Catholic national identity.

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This has been a highly eventful and emotional week. The world has watched as the British courts and the NHS have been exposed as King Herod, by a weak and helpless infant. Alfie Evans never uttered a word, but he showed as clear as day the unimaginable evil that is currently ruling our once great nation.

In contrast to this unimaginable evil, we had the unimaginable strength and courage of his 21 year old Father, Tom. Never have I seen such a clear and honest example of what it means to be a man – a father. This 21 year old has more masculinity in his little finger than almost the entire Bishops conference of England and Wales – who failed to come to the aid of this persecuted Catholic family in their hour of need.

Shame must fall most heavily on Liverpool diocese who in their official statement on the matter, unbelievably decided to side with the Hospital and the courts who so desperately, it seems, wanted little Alfie dead.

It leaves one with the temptation to despair, but as I sit here on a coach full Catholic pilgrims ranging from ages 8 – 80, I find myself with a new sense of hope.

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We are part of the 30k Catholics who are traveling to over 400 locations all over the UK today to take part in the Rosary on the Coast event. This has been a lay initiative and has had more interest than anyone could have possibly predicted. It is not just happening in Britain, but in Poland, Ireland Australia and I hear rumours that it will also be happening in America soon.

To pray at the border is powerfully nationalistic. Not nationalistic in a nasty xenophobic kind of way, but in a calm and peaceful way that makes one ask the question ‘What does it mean to be a British Catholic today?’

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Our once strong Catholic national identity has for some time now been experiencing a bit of a personality crisis. On the one hand we have ‘fringe’ Catholics like Tom Evans displaying honour, humility and the upmost courage as he defends the right to life for his son. And on the other hand we have the lily livered Catholic Bishops who are terrified to say anything that might be construed as being politically incorrect. So who was most true to their Catholic identity? Surely it was the one who put life, love and hope above towing the establishment line? To quote Pope Francis, 21 year old Tom “made a mess”, and rightly so.

When we look back at our British Catholic heritage we find plenty of examples of Catholics making a mess. Saints Thomas Becket, John Fisher, Edmund Campion, Margaret Clithero, Nicholas Owen, Anne Line, and Margaret Ward, to name a few. These wonderful courageous British men and women quietly rebelled against the establishment and put their faith first. St. Thomas More, whilst on the scaffold at Tower Hill moments before his beheading declared himself to be: “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”  I cannot help thinking that Liverpool diocese fell short of this kind of British courage when they issued their statement on Alfie Evans. Their neutral language and unquestioning faith in the law seemed much more concerned with not upsetting the apple cart than it did with protecting the life of an innocent child sentenced to death by the state.

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Of course we should all try our best to remain within the law, but as Catholics we have no choice but to heed the words of Thomas More and put God first. Just like the Martyrs of the middle ages and post reformation, British Catholics are once again living in a time of persecution. We have to stand up to the law. This week marks 50 years since the Abortion Act came into effect, legalising abortions on the NHS. Catholics recognise abortion as murder – we have to put God first. Also this week we witnessed the horrific power of British law as Alder hey hospital and the courts stripped Alfie’s parents of all their parental rights so they could, against his parents wishes, legally end Alfie’s life. And don’t even get me started on mass immigration, freedom of speech, Gay marriage (which forced me to close down my 9 year old wedding cake business) or Transgender workshops in primary schools. Catholics simply cannot stand by and do nothing as the state proclaims itself as God, with the authority to say that it knows better than parents, and to say when we live or die. We simply cannot remain silent, because as British Catholics, that is not who we are.

St. Henry Morse SJ, on the scaffold at the infamous Tyburn gallows in London – as they placed the noose around his neck, declared to the crowd: “I am come hither to die for my religion… I have a secret which highly concerns His Majesty and Parliament to know. The Kingdom of England will never be truly blessed until it returns to the Catholic faith and its subjects are all united in one belief under the Bishop of Rome… I pray that my death may be some kind of atonement for the sins of this Kingdom.”

Let us not allow our British Catholic martyrs deaths to have been in vain, but instead let us reclaim Britain through our individual commitment to personal holiness which naturally leads us to carry out the new evangelisation in our normal everyday lives.

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Praying on the beach today, united with 30k other Catholics across the British Isles, I felt that we were beginning to regain a sense of spiritual national identity. We have approx. 18 months before England is rededicated as the Dowry of Mary at Walsingham. What does being the Dowry of Mary mean for us as British Catholics? Let us use that time to rediscover who we are and what specific role British Catholics have to play in God’s plan for the world at this time in history.

 

BXVI letter post script: “PS. Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

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BXVI writing his post script message.

Another missing part of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s letter to Monsignor Viganò has emerged – this time a one line post script.

The post script message reads: “PS. Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

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Sources close to the elderly Pope Emeritus tell us that he wanted to sign his name “Emperor Palpatine” because it was funny, but decided that the neanderthals up at the Vatican communications office would probably think it was real, so he chose not to.

 

Source: The Vatican communications department.

 

ANOTHER missing paragraph from that BXVI letter!!!

It seems there is yet ANOTHER paragraph that has emerged from the now infamous BXVI letter:

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“Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.”

This really is unbelievable!! How can anyone take the Vatican’s communication department seriously ever again???!!!

Read the full story here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-of-benedict-xvis-letter-to-mons.-vigano

Lauren Southern speaks at the European Parliament about being held under the Terrorism act.

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Lauren Southern has spoken in the European Parliament about her recent detention at the Calais/UK border, and the legal issues surrounding free speech and blasphemy laws.

Please keep up to date with this story as it is very likely to change things for the better in our country. See you at 3pm, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, this Sunday.

 

Lord Pearson speaks plainly about Islam.

This video needs no introduction, just watch…

The links keep getting taken down so I hope one of these works…

If the links keep getting taken down, just search Bitchute.com for Tommy Robinson’s page and it should be there. https://www.bitchute.com/video/PDrc4KhHono/

See you at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park on Sunday at Red Pill O’clock.

Errrr… I mean 3pm.

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Vatican admits it DID doctor photo of BXVI’s letter, omitting 3rd paragraph.

The doctored photo.

The doctored photo.

The Vatican admitted Thursday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis’ five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict’s doctrine-minded papacy.

In the part of the letter that is legible in the photo, Benedict praised a new volume of books on the theology of Francis as evidence of the “foolish prejudice” of his critics. The book project, Benedict wrote, “helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament.”

The Vatican admitted Thursday that it blurred the two final lines of the first page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t actually read the books in question. He wrote that he cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested by Vigano because he has other projects to do.

The Vatican didn’t explain why it blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict’s tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.

The missing content significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media. Those quotes suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment. The doctoring of the photo is significant because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are closed to independent media.

Vigano read parts of the letter during a press conference launching the volume, including the lines that were blurred out. A journalist who attended the presentation, Sandro Magister, transcribed Vigano’s comments and posted them on his blog. But Vigano didn’t read the whole letter. The Vatican didn’t respond to a request to see the full text.

Most independent news media, including The Associated Press, follow strict standards that forbid digital manipulation of photos.

“No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph,” the AP standards read.

Source: https://apnews.com/01983501d40d47a4aa7a32b6afb70661