Archive for Catholic Church

How Nice!

The Pope gets to pray in a mosque!

Pope Francis prayed silently alongside a senior Islamic cleric in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque on Saturday, in a gesture of inter-religious harmony in a country bordering the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Francis took off his shoes as he entered the huge mosque, before bowing his head in prayer for several minutes, facing Mecca and standing next to Istanbul’s Grand Mufti Rahmi Yaran, in what a Vatican spokesman described as a joint “moment of silent adoration” of God.

A similar act by his predecessor Pope Benedict in 2006 drew criticism from conservative Catholics and some Muslims.

Good job, Pope Francis.

Let your humility and faith be an example to others:

Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi and prominent religious-Zionist scholar Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel spoke to Arutz Sheva about the tensions over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism which has been at the center of attempts by Palestinian Authority and Islamist leaders to incite a religious war.

Despite being Judaism’s holiest site Jews are prevented from praying on the Mount and Jewish visits are severely restricted, due to threats of violence from Muslim leaders.

Islamists and PA officials, including Mahmoud Abbas, regularly accuse Jewish visitors to the Mount of attempting to “storm the Al Aqsa Mosque.” Al Aqsa mosque – not to be confused with the golden-domed Dome of the Rock shrine – is the largest of several mosques at the site, where the ancient Jewish Temples once stood.

But In fact, Rabbi Ariel pointed out, no religious Jews have ever attempted or asked to pray inside the mosque – and they have absolutely no desire to do so.

So, a Christian (albeit a fairly senior one) can pray inside a mosque in Istanbul with barely a ripple, but no Jews—none—may pray even in the vicinity of a mosque in Jerusalem!

Oh, okay. Just checking.

If I were of a more religious bent, I might suggest that G-d could not be pleased with this state of affairs. I know it offends me. I say it’s apartheid, and I say the hell with it.

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Lighten Up, Francis

Aggie quoted Caroline Glick just a couple of posts down, but allow me to quote her again—if only because she agrees with me:

Consider first Francis’s behavior at the security barrier.

Reasonable people disagree about the contribution the security fence makes to the security of Israelis. But no one can reasonably doubt that it was built to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorist murderers. And Francis ought to know this. Francis’s decision to hold a photo-op at the security barrier was an act of extreme hostility against Israel and the Jewish people.

As the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Francis may have heard of the November 2002 massacre at Kibbutz Metzer. Metzer was founded by Argentine communists in the 1950s. Metzer is located 500 meters from the 1949 armistice lines which made it an obvious beneficiary of the security fence. But true to its radical roots, in 2002 members of the kibbutz waged a public campaign against the planned route of the security fence. They feared that it would, in the words of Metzer member Danny Dovrat, “ignite hostility and create problems” with the kibbutz’s Palestinian neighbors.

Thanks to that concern, on the night of November 10, 2002, a gunman from the “moderate” US- and EU-supported Fatah terror organization faced no physical obstacle when he entered the kibbutz. Once there he killed two people on the street and then entered the home of Revital Ohayon and executed Revital and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4 years old.

Fatah praised the attack on its website and pledged to conduct more assaults on “Zionist colonizers,” and promised to continue “targeting their children as well.”

Had he actually cared about the cause of peace and non-violence he claims to champion, Francis might have averred from stopping at the barrier, recognizing that doing so would defile the memory of the Ohayons and of hundreds of other Israeli Jewish families who were destroyed by Palestinian bloodlust and anti-Semitic depravity.

Instead, Francis “spontaneously” got out of his popemobile, walked over to a section of the barrier, and reverentially touched it and kissed it as if it were the Wailing Wall.

The graffiti on the section of the barrier Francis stopped at reinforced his anti-Semitic position. One of the slogans called for the embrace of the BDS campaign.

We said much the same thing two days ago. We hoped—prayed, even—that Pope Francis was blessing the wall—man’s wall, not to be confused with God’s Wall, where he also prayed—for its immeasurable contributions to peace and life. That’s us all over: charitable even to a fault.

Glick has plenty more to say, but consider this:

During his visit Monday to Jerusalem, Francis embraced the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammed Hussein. Departing from his scripted remarks which called for the pope to refer to the mufti and his associates as “dear friends,” Francis called them his “dear brothers.”

Hussein has been condemned by the US and the EU for his calls for the annihilation of Jews in the name of Islam.

In 2012, Hussein said it was the destiny of Muslims to kill Jews, who he claims are subhuman beasts and “the enemies of Allah.” He has also praised suicide bombers and said their souls “tell us to follow in their path.”

Francis didn’t condemn him.

Why should he? The Mufti was just carrying on long-standing policy.


Three syllables…first syllable sounds like…empty, nothing, hollow—hollow!

I think Francis’s hostility toward Israel stems not from millennia-long Catholic enmity toward Jews—though that is the fertile soil from which it grows. No, his particular poisonous line of thinking stems from Leftism. Look at his anti-capitalist screed, consider his background in Liberation Theology.

We took issue with His Holiness over capitalism, as we do with all anti-capitalists. Capitalism is not immoral, but amoral. But in its amorality, capitalism is the greatest creator of wealth outside of an Obama stimulus package. Other than Obamaphones and food stamps, capitalism has lifted the most people out of poverty.

We will disagree—and condemn—Pope Francis here too. I don’t believe he shares the medieval Catholic view of Jews with horns siphoning off the blood of gentile children for their flatbreads. But his association with the Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is willfully ignorant. But that’s us being charitable again.

Glick:

Israelis and Jews around the world need to be aware of what is happening. Francis is leading the Catholic Church in a distressingly anti-Jewish direction.

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How to Make “Never Again” Never Again

Like a lot of people, I am disposed to liking Pope Francis. And if he wants peace for the Middle East, who am I to argue? It’s just that…well, have a look:

It is an image that will define Pope Francis’s first official visit to the Holy Land. Head bowed in prayer, the leader of the Catholic church pressed his palm against the graffiti-covered concrete of Israel’s imposing “separation wall”, a Palestinian girl holding a flag by his side. It was, as his aides conceded later, a silent statement against a symbol of division and conflict.

Another angle:

I take it, the graffito in its entirety reads “Apartheid Wall”. And I hope the Pope’s body language translates as “oy vey”.

You see, what some see as a “symbol of division and conflict”, smarter people see as a saver of countless lives.

Okay, maybe not countless—it looks to me to have saved about a thousand over the past decade—but as the saying goes, an anti-terrorist wall that has saved a single life has saved the world entire.

So, I prefer to read the Pope’s heartfelt prayer as a paean of gratitude to the Israelis who built it and for the souls of the Arabs who otherwise would have massacred the innocents. With G-d, it’s usually a win-win.

Visiting the memorial dedicated to victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, Francis prayed before a crypt with ashes of victims and laid a wreath of yellow and white flowers in the “Hall of Remembrance.”

And then one by one, he kissed the hands of a half-dozen Holocaust survivors in a sign of humility and honor as he heard their stories and of loved ones killed by the Nazis during World War II.

“Never again, Lord, never again!” Francis said. “Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man — created in your own image and likeness — was capable of doing.”

He repeated that phrase writing in the memorial’s guest book, adding: “With shame for the fact that man made himself the owner of evil; with shame that man made himself into God and sacrificed his brothers. Never again!! Never again!! Francis. 5.26.2014.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Your Holiness.

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Slutwatch

I don’t want to get all Rush Limbaugh-y on you, but isn’t this called “sleeping your way to the top”?

Sandra Fluke, a women’s rights activist who came to prominence after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh labeled her a “slut” for advocating government-funded contraception, is considering a run for Congress.

Fluke told KPCC that she is “strongly” considering a bid for the seat of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who announced his retirement earlier Thursday.

“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,” Fluke said. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.”

Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke came after she was denied the right to testify in front of a House committee about the federal health law’s contraception coverage mandate.

She didn’t have the “right” to testify. It was a hearing of clergy, of which she is not one, and her name hadn’t been submitted in due course. The Republicans who denied her “right” did her a favor, as the Democrats organized a fake hearing at which she testified. Thence her 15 minutes of fame (or infamy, if you prefer).

She was a 30-year-old student at Georgetown Law who demanded that a Catholic institution foot the $3,000 bill for her birth control. Never mind what Rush Limbaugh said, that’s what she said. Never mind what you think, that’s not what the Catholic Church thinks. And they don’t exactly make a secret of it either. Women (and their partners) who can’t afford prophylaxis are free to attend other law schools.

Ms. Fluke achieved whatever notoriety she has on the basis of her sex life, or at least its public airing. Now she wants to run for Congress on that “platform”. What a country, huh?

Still, a moderate cutie like Ms. Fluke in place of that bridge troll Henry Waxman will improve the look of Congress immeasurably. So we’re not opposed.

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Bad Nuns

A staple of sports cliches (a realm crowded with cliches) is to refer to an overmatched team as “The Little Sisters of the Poor”.

These ain’t your daddy’s Little Sisters of the Poor:

The Little Sisters of the Poor run a nonprofit Colorado nursing home and hospice and therefore ought to be exempt under what the White House calls its “accommodation” for religiously affiliated institutions like parochial schools, hospitals and charities.

The problem is that to qualify under the “accommodation,” religious organizations must sign a legal contract with their insurer certifying that the religious organizations refuse to subsidize contraceptive services. “This certification is an instrument under which the plan is operated,” the contract notes, then informs the insurer of its “obligations” under the rules.

Those include a command that the insurer “shall provide” contraception to all enrollees, supposedly independently and for free. The political point of the accommodation was to pretend that the costs of contraception or abortifacients are nominally carried by a third-party corporation, but the insurers are really only the middle men. The Little Sisters thus argue that signing the certification contract directs others to provide birth control in their place and makes them complicit.

Boiled down, the Justice Department’s legal response on Friday was: Shut up and sign the form. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argues the Sisters’ claims have “no legal basis.”

The Little Sisters can’t be bought off, and they can’t be intimidated.

But they can be fought:

Speaking at a fundraiser for NARAL Pro-Choice America in October 2011, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius declared that those of us arguing for conscience rights in the face of Obamacare were not only backward but belligerent:

They don’t just want to go after the last 18 months, they want to roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive health care in America.

We’ve come a long way in women’s health over the last few decades, but we are in a war.

Much commentary today — and many of the reporter’s questions — insist, as the administration has for a while now, that the Sisters have no religious-liberty problem: sign a form, all’s well. Except it’s not, and the Sisters won’t. Being told it has to green-light insurance coverage is not religious freedom in America. This accommodation/arbitrary exemption/exception business is for the birds.

Nancy Pelosi once threaten to “deem” Obamacare passed; Obama promised you could keep your doctor and your insurance plan; the Sisters are told they won’t get their precious little hands dirty with abortifacients. But they are buying none of it. I can’t say they’ll win—we are very far gone in terms of individual and religious liberties—but they won’t lose. If you keep your conscience, you never lose your soul.

That’s why the Sister will survive and America is very much in doubt.

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Little Sister of the Poor 1, Obamacare 0


You want a piece of us?

It really is a Happy New Year. … American Freedom Law Center … worked tirelessly and down to the 2013 wire to persuade the DC Circuit to issue the injunction Kathryn posted about last night. That ruling prevented the Obamacare mandate from going into effect – i.e., from coercing religious believers, against the tenets of their faiths, to provide coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives. Of course, as we’ve seen before, President Obama often does not deem himself bound by such trifles as judicial rulings and congressional statutes, so we’ll have to see how the administration reacts. Here, meanwhile, is the press statement AFLC released:

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the American Freedom Law Center’s (AFLC) emergency motion for an injunction, thereby halting the enforcement of the Obamacare contraception mandate as applied against religious organizations pending appeal of a lower court ruling.

Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “The circuit court’s order was nothing short of a Christmas blessing, coming literally at the 11th hour. Without this injunction, beginning on New Year’s Day the federal government would have forced Priests for Life to either violate its sincerely held religious beliefs or face crippling fines of $100 per employee per day that it is not in compliance with Obama’s unconstitutional and unconscionable mandate.”

David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “We won this battle for religious freedom, but the war—and it is a fiercely fought war at every step along the way between the culture of life and the culture of death—continues. No doubt that this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

I won’t speak for Aggie on every nuance, but we support gay marriage, and generally support access to abortion (as long as it’s safe, legal, and rare). But we do not support liberal fascism, which is what this mandate amounts to: government coercion to act against personal and religious beliefs.

It’s time to drop “liberal” from “liberal fascism”, in fact, as the only fascism is liberal fascism. The GLAAD jihad against Phil Robertson; humiliating the Romney grandson because he’s black; Obamacare’s requirement that priests and nuns sign off on aborting unborn children. You might say that race, abortion, and gay rights are the holy trinity of the Left; on those subjects their behavior is its most intolerant and hostile. Don’t ask us to supply more examples; that’s why we have archives. Start at Liberal Fascism; move on to Liberal Ignorance, Loony Leftists, Media Bias, etc. You might even find a few others under the search heading “Left-Wing Civility Watch”.

Untitled
“The culture of life and the culture of death”—let me think about it.

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Two Great Men

A great man:

The pope “from the ends of the Earth,” as he described himself from the central loggia of St. Peter’s on the evening of his election on March 13, is a reformer who, as he made clear in “Evangelii Gaudium,” will measure authentic Catholic reform by the criterion of mission-effectiveness. Thus the Franciscan reform of the Roman Curia will not be undertaken for whatever modest satisfactions may be derived from moving slots around on an organizational flowchart, but to ensure that the Catholic Church’s central administration serves the evangelical mission of all the members of the church.

He is a man of broad culture, well-read theologically but more given to literary references and illustrations than to scholarly theological citations in his preaching and catechesis. Thus one of his recent daily Mass sermons praised Robert Hugh Benson’s early 20th-century apocalyptic novel, “Lord of the World,” for raising important cautions against dictatorial utopianism, or what the pope called “adolescent progressivism.”

The pope is passionately concerned about the poor, and he knows that poverty in the 21st century takes many forms. It can be found in the grinding material poverty of his native Buenos Aires, caused by decades of corruption, indifference, and the church’s failures to catechize Argentina’s economic and political leaders. But poverty can also be found in the soul-withering spiritual desert of those who measure their humanity by what they have rather than who they are, and who judge others by the same materialist yardstick. Then there is the ethical impoverishment of moral relativism, which dumbs down human aspiration, impedes common work for the common good in society, and inevitably leads to social fragmentation and personal unhappiness.

As he wrote in “Evangelii Gaudium,” Pope Francis is not a man of “political ideology.” He knows that “business is a vocation and a noble vocation,” if ordered to the common good and the empowerment of the poor. When he criticizes the social, economic or political status quo, he does so as a pastor who is “interested only in helping all those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking that is more humane, noble, and fruitful.”

And, if you will, a greater man:

“Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny’ and beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. … In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the ‘idolatry of money.'”

Folks, in recent weeks I have endeavored to try to make you understand how it is that people like modern-age Democrats look at small business and business at large. They do not, in the terms of small business, understand how fragile it is. Their view of business is that people who own them or run them cheat their customers, abuse their employees, hoard all the money, and have tons of it. They take it and keep it for themselves. They deny their employees a livable wage. They deny them health care. They deny them benefits. They produce products that kill and maim and sicken, or they produce products that destroy the planet, destroy the environment, or what have you.

I mean, it’s a litany. This is their view and it is why they claim that they must take it over and control it, because it’s inherently unfair that a select few capitalists rip everybody off. Rip off their employees, rip off their customers, and that’s how you have unequal incomes, and this vast gap between wealth and poverty. It’s all because of capitalism. They claim that as socialists or reformers or progressives, that they are fair and compassionate, and they will make that gap between the wealthy and the poor narrower, and they will make life more equitable, and they will engage in equality of outcomes and so forth, and wherever they’ve tried, they’ve failed.

Wherever socialists have gained power, they have done nothing but spread poverty. They cannot and do not produce wealth. They do not understand it. All they can do is destroy it. They are not compassionate; they coerce. And to hear the pope regurgitating this stuff, I was profoundly disappointed. The idolatry of money, urging “politicians to ‘attack the structural causes of inequality’ and strive to provide work, health care and education to all citizens.”

What has been happening in this country the past five years? Exactly what this man claims to want. We have a president who has attacked the structural causes of inequality, and what’s he done? He’s raised taxes on the producers and the achievers for the express purpose of redistributing it. All he’s done is create massive debt. He has destroyed jobs. There are 91.5 million Americans not working in America today, 91.5 million not working. All the while the president, 19 or 20 times, says that he’s doing nothing but focusing on creating jobs, but he can’t. No government can create jobs, not in the private sector. All they can do is hamper job creation.

The pope “also called on rich people to share their wealth.” We were just talking about the charitable donations and contributions that existed in this country, and they are profound. The United States is near the top of the list in the world of charitable countries, but even with all the charity, and it is tremendous, it cannot compete with capitalism in elevating people out of poverty. There is nothing the world has ever devised that has elevated more people out of poverty than capitalism.

Amen.

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Pope Asks Everyone To Fast, Pray That US Doesn’t Go To War With Syria

Obama isn’t the Messiah anymore

Pope Francis has written a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the G-20 summit that President Obama is attending, urging world leaders to oppose a military intervention in Syria.

“To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution,” the Pope urged. “Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.”

The move is the latest in a series of efforts by the Holy See to prevent military action in the already civil-war torn region. On Sunday, the Pope declared in his Angelus teaching that Saturday Sept. 7 would be a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. The prayer rally will take place in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. to midnight, on the vigil of the birth of Mary, the Queen of Peace. “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love,” the Pope asked people around the world. “She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”

Next Pope Francis took his views on Syria to Twitter. On Monday he tweeted, “War never again! Never again war!” and “How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake.” On Tuesday, he tweeted “We want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out!” and “With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons.” Today his social media message was, “With all my strength, I ask each party in the conflict not to close themselves in solely on their own interests. #prayforpeace.”

Do you think Obama is hiding under the bed somewhere? With a blankie, sucking his thumb and rubbing his nose? The Pope is going after him directly. You can’t make this stuff up, guys; it’s just too perfect.

– Aggie

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Rigid Authoritarian Obama Wants To End Catholic Education

Because we need more secularism, right?

The Catholic media is up in arms over comments President Obama made during a speech while in Northern Ireland for the G8 summit. Obama made what is described as “an alarming call for an end to Catholic education,” in spite of the fact that it is considered “a critical component of the Church.”

In front of an audience of about 2,000 young people, including many Catholics, Obama claimed that Catholic education divides people and blocks peace, according to the Scottish Catholic Observer.

“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” Obama said.

I’ve never even visited Ireland, largely because they currently have far too much Jew hatred in their culture, but I believe that Catholicism is a force for good in the world and that Obama is way, way, way out of line. He has no reason to comment on the choice of the Catholic parents in Ireland. It is flat-out none of his business.

– Aggie

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Italian Righteous Gentile Beatified

We have a lot to thank him for

Odoardo Focherini, whom Yad Vashem honored as a Righteous among the Nations in 1969, was beatified on Saturday by the Roman Catholic Church in Carpi, his hometown in the province of Modena in northern Italy.

Focherini is the first Righteous Gentile to be sent on the road to sainthood, the first Catholic to be named a blessed martyr for losing his life in order to save Jews during the Nazi era.

His beatification process began in 1996 when the Carpi Catholic Diocese presented an official document.

Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree attesting to Focherini’s martyrdom on May 10, 2012.

Strong positive reactions have begun pouring in from representatives of world Jewry.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, offered “homage with deference and deep feeling.”

“Odoardo Focherini was a person of the highest values and principles. An extraordinary commitment, paid at the price of his life… His courage, his ideals, his love for life will not be forgotten. His memory will continue to be a source of inspiration, also for future generations,” Gattegna said.

The American Jewish Committee issued a statement in Rome saying it was “deeply moved.”

“Odoardo Focherini acted selflessly in accordance with the highest moral principles shared by our two fraternal religions,” it said. “This act will create yet another bond between Christians and Jews, further enriching our deepening dialogue. May the recognition and memory of Odoardo Focherini’s profound faith and humanity be a blessing to all the world’s peoples.”

Focherini’s extraordinary acts have been remembered and honored through the years. In 1955, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities presented his family with a gold medal in his memory, for having “applied himself as an activist, tirelessly, for a long period, to help Jews and in particular to save those who were being persecuted.”

In 1969, Focherini and Father Dante Sala, the parish priest of San Martino Spino near Mirandola who sustained Focherini’s frenetic activity in helping Jews cross over to Switzerland, were inscribed in Yad Vashem’s Album of the Righteous among Nations. In 2007, the Italian Republic commemorated his devotion and sacrifice with a Gold Medal for Civil Merit.

Father Giangiuseppe Califano, the postulator (the person who guides a cause for beatification or canonization through the Church’s judicial processes) of Focherini’s Cause for Beatification, said that Focherini “was martyred by the Nazis in odium fidei,” that is, he was murdered out of “hatred for the faith,” for giving witness by risking his life to save persecuted Jews.

Focherini is described as having been happily married and a loving father of seven who was a devoted Catholic activist whose path led to martyrdom because he followed his conscience and his faith.

He worked first as an insurance agent and then as a journalist for the Bologna-based L’Avvenire d’Italia newspaper.

Focherini (known as “Odo”) began building a clandestine network, producing false documents and escorting more than a hundred Jewish refugees across the Italian border into Switzerland, when the archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Pietro Boetta, asked the editor-in-chief of L’Avvenire d’Italia, Raimondo Manzini, to help some Polish Jews to escape from Genoa.

Manzini entrusted Focherini with this delicate and dangerous task. The word of possible salvation quickly spread among Jewish refugees.

Focherini continued to save as many lives as he could with the help of Sala.

On March 11, 1944, after delivering his last false documents to Enrico Donati, a Jewish refugee in the Hospital of Carpi, Focherini was arrested by Italian Fascists and submitted to interrogation regarding a letter in which he wrote that he was helping Jews “not for profit, but out of pure Christian charity.”

This served as his death warrant.

From a prison in Bologna he was brought to the Fossoli concentration camp in Carpi, then to the Gries camp in Bolzano, and finally deported to the Flossenburg concentration camp in Germany.

He died at a subsidiary camp of Flossenburg in Hersbruck on December 27, 1944, at the age of 37, from blood poisoning caused by a leg wound.

A Catholic partisan friend, Teresio Olivetti, also interned at Hersbruck, had been hidden and saved by Focherini when the Nazis were seeking victims for a reprisal following a partisan attack in which 10 Germans were killed.

Olivetti conveyed Focherini’s last words: “I declare I am dying in the purest apostolic Roman Catholic faith and in full submission to the will of God, offering my life as holocaust for my diocese, for Catholic Action [a lay group], for the pope and for the return of peace to this world.”

More at the link, but I am too teary to read it now. Nice to know that there are people like him in our world.

– Aggie

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Rank Skanks

The picture is available here—I’m not sure why I’m uncharacteristically modest—but for any of you at work or in any other compromised position, wait until a private moment:

A group of naked women bum-rushed Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard while he was speaking in Brussels and doused him with water from bottles shaped like the Virgin Mary on Tuesday.

The women were reportedly feminist protesters from the Ukranian-based FEMEN group, which is known for organizing topless protests against the Catholic Church and others.

According to AFP, the four protesters charged the archbishop during “a debate on blasphemy and freedom of expression held at the Brussels’ Free University (ULB) campus Tuesday evening, baring their breasts and squirting water at Archbishop Andre Leonard as they accused him of homophobia.”

Photos of the event show Leonard patiently sitting quietly with his eyes closed and hands folded in prayer as the women empty bottles of water on his head and clothes.

It comes from a dark place, I admit, but sometimes I think breasts are wasted. So contorted are they by hate and ugliness, these women are women in the biological sense only. I guess that sentiment would get me doused with a water bottle shaped like Hugh Hefner.

The picture serves to generate complete support for the Archbishop in question and for the church in general, no matter how much we may sympathize with the Furies’ point of view. The Catholic Church has much to answer for, but being scourged by these demons isn’t on the list.

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Best Foot Forward

While the battle rages on in the comments about Jesuits, Catholics, celibacy, and perversity, I’d like to stay above the fray. (You know me, too good for that sort of thing.)

What do Catholics themselves make of Pope Francis so far?

Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world’s poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls — a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic — during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, ‘‘Rorate Caeli,’’ reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict’s eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s modernizing reforms.

‘‘The official end of the reform of the reform — by example,’’ ‘’Rorate Caeli’’ lamented in its report on Francis’ Holy Thursday ritual.

A like-minded commentator in Francis’ native Argentina, Marcelo Gonzalez at International Catholic Panorama, reacted to Francis’ election with this phrase: ‘‘The Horror.’’ Gonzalez’s beef? While serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s efforts to revive the old Latin Mass so dear to Benedict and traditionalists were ‘‘non-existent.’’

Virtually everything he has done since being elected pope, every gesture, every decision, has rankled traditionalists in one way or another.

I don’t want to tell these people how to think. It’s their faith, not mine. But I would ask or observe that wasn’t it as revolutionary for Jesus to wash the feet of his (all male) disciples as it is for Pope Francis to wash the feet of women and Muslims? Isn’t the Pope’s action in keeping with the spirit of Jesus and not just the letter of canonical law?

Really, I’m just asking.

And, of course, looking for any excuse to play clips from Pulp Fiction.

(As fans of the movie know, this is the G-rated scene on foot massages. The profanity-laced scene is not suitable for a family blog—in other words, look it up yourself.)

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